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UN: Yemen heading towards famine with unclear death toll

January 27, 2017 at 3:36 pm

Children receive treatment due to malnutrition problems because of the ongoing clashes in Yemen [Mohammed Hamoud – Anadolu Agency]

The UN yesterday said that Yemen is heading towards famine in 2017 if the conflict between the Houthi rebels and the Yemeni government persists.

UN humanitarian aid chief Stephen O’Brien warned that “if there is no immediate action [to provide relief to Yemen], famine is now a possible scenario for 2017.”

The situation in Yemen is currently dire with 70 per cent of the population in Yemen in need of humanitarian aid and one in five people suffering from severe food insecurity. Many provinces in the northern and central part of Yemen are unable to get food.

According to UNICEF, 100,000 children are currently starving in the war-induced famine in Al-Hudaydah province. In Taiz, over half a million are being besieged by Iran-backed Houthis and denied access to food, water and basic humanitarian necessities. According to statistics presented by Oxfam, nearly 80 per cent of people in Saada, which has a population of 838,000, are going hungry. The UN’s statistics on the death toll in Yemen can also be contested, and has produced conflicting figures.

Last August, UN Humanitarian Coordinator Jamie McGoldrick said medical facilities in Yemen have estimated the death toll as a result of the conflict being 10,000 people. However, the death toll was later announced to be 7,000 in the beginning of November and last week the UN announced the again that the death toll in Yemen had returned to at least 10,000 people.