250,000 Yemenis are on the brink of death from hunger, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Sunday.
“The ongoing conflict and its resulting economic crisis are the key factors behind food insecurity in Yemen,” WHO said.
The UN organisation pointed out that the Yemeni conflict had destroyed some of the country’s “vital civilian infrastructure,” adding that around 20 million Yemenis were “food insecure.”
“Nearly a quarter of a million people are on the brink of starvation, if not urgent intervention,” the humanitarian organisation stressed.
In collaboration with local health authorities and The World Bank (WB), WHO reportedly established a surveillance system to seek out the most vulnerable individuals for treatment. The initiative is being carried out as part of the so-called “Emergency Health and Nutrition Project (EHNP),” was launched by WHO in partnership with the WB and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
“EHNP would prioritise and closely monitor communities at high risk of famine,” WHO explained.
For the fifth year in a row, Yemen has been locked in a war between pro-government forces and Houthis who are accused of receiving Iranian support and controlling several provinces, including the capital Sanaa, since September 2014.
In March 2015, the country was invaded by a Saudi-led coalition in an attempt to allegedly reverse the advancements made by the Houthi movement which has been in control of the capital Sanaa since 2014.
The UN has described the situation in the country as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. UNICEF recently reported that around two million children in Yemen were suffering from acute malnutrition, including 360,000 under five years old.