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UN urges access to Yemen ports to allow food aid in

A malnourished Yemeni baby receives treatment at the Sabaeen hospital in Sanaa, Yemen on January 18, 2017 [Mohammed Hamoud/Anadolu Agency]

All sides in the Yemen conflict must allow greater access to the country’s ports to let food, fuel and medicine imports in to ward off a looming famine, a UN official urged today.

Emergency relief coordinator Stephen O’Brien said the UN was urging international donors to step up their aid but the Yemenis had to ensure it could reach up to seven million people now facing severe food shortages.

Nearly 3.3 million people in Yemen – including 2.1 million children – are acutely malnourished, the UN says. They include 460,000 children under the age of five who risk dying of pneumonia or diarrhoea as a result of malnourishment.

Fighting in or near ports hampers access for aid coming from outside.

“The international community needs to step up its funding and the parties to the conflict need to continue providing humanitarian access,” O’Brien told reporters at the government’s base in Aden late yesterday.

“This also means access to the ports so that the needed imports can enter Yemen,” he said.

“Seven million people don’t know where their next meal is coming from and we now face a serious risk of famine.”

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