An estimated 8.4 million people are on the verge of hunger in Yemen

An estimated 8.4 million people are  on the verge of hunger in Yemen

Yemen is growing close to famine following a 25% rise in severe hunger this year, the situation has been worsened by an offensive on the main port city of Hodeida, which supplies aid to millions.

Tens of thousands of people have been displaced by conflict and it is estimated that 8.4 million are on the verge of starvation.

Suze van Meegen, spokeswoman for the Norwegian Refugee Council commented:

“We perceive the country to be sitting on a knife edge in terms of famine - it could tip at any time really. The desperation we are seeing is becoming greater - more people are begging in the streets.”

According to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), four in ten children under the age of five are now severely malnourished, and the number of people displaced since the Hodeida attack has increased to 200,000.

Stephen Anderson, Yemen Country Director for the World Food Programme, said:

“Averting famine in Yemen will be contingent on the ability of WFP and other humanity agencies to reach the populations in need to sustain humanitarian assistance.”

The United Nations said last year that there were famine conditions in Yemen but the full famine criteria was not met.

There are several requirements needed for famine to be declared: more than 20% of the population must be unable to feed themselves, with over 30% of children under the age of five suffering from acute malnutrition, doubling the mortality.

Hodeida’s offensive was led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, it was the largest battle in a conflict that has killed over 10,000 people.

This war has triggered an urgent humanitarian crisis, with 22 million Yemenis relying on aid.

Although the city of Hodeida is calm, fierce fighting continues south of the city causing civilian deaths and displacement.

The Saudi led military coalition has previously closed the country’s main entry point for food, fuel and humanitarian supplies.

In June, the World Food Programme provided food to six million people that will last for a month.


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Image credit: UN

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