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Facing Famine: 14 Million People Affected in Yemen

Half of war-torn Yemen’s population – 14 million people – are suffering and facing “pre-famine conditions,” the United Nations has warned.

The United Nations humanitarian chief warned Tuesday that “there is a clear and present danger of an imminent and great big famine engulfing Yemen.” Medics have said that food-related deaths are rising because of increasing famine levels.

Since 2015, Yemen’s state has been overcome by conflict when a Saudi-led coalition intervened the rebel Houthi movement that seized control of the west of the country and forced President Abrabbuh Mansour Hadi to flee, according to BBC News.

Mark Lowcock, the United Nations Security Council, told the Security Council that this famine is “much bigger than anything any professional in this field has seen during their working lives,” per NBC News.

Courtesy: Young Global Initiative

There have been at least 66,660 civilians killed and 10,560 injured in the war, according to the United Nations. The war and partial blockade have also left 22 people in need of aid, creating the world’s largest food security emergency and leading to a cholera outbreak that has affected 1.1 million people.

“The situation is much graver than we thought,” said U.N. Security Council Mark Lowcock. Lowcock warned of famine in Yemen at the beginning of 2017 and again in last November, and since then it has only increased because of the “sheer number of people at risk.”

“While millions of people have been surviving on emergency food assistance for years, they help they get is merely enough to survive, not to thrive,” says Lowcock.

A famine is declared when three thresholds of food insecurity, acute malnutrition, and mortality are all breached together. For a country to be declared a famine state, it needs to have at least one in five households facing an extreme lack of food, more than 30% of children under five years old suffering from acute malnutrition, and at least two people out of 10,000 dying every day.

Lowcock explained that deaths were hidden because only half of Yemen’s health facilities were functioning, and families were too poor to access the operating healthcare facilities. Because of that, few families are reporting deaths, keeping the real and raw numbers away from headlines.

Nevertheless, the charity Save the Children reported in 2017 that at least 130 children were dying every day from starvation and disease and almost 50,000 yearly.

The conflict in Yemen began in 2014 after the capital was taken over by Houthi Shiite rebels who overthrew the internationally recognized government. Since 2015, a Saudi-led coalition, allied with the government, has been fighting the Houthi rebel to take back their country.

The humanitarian crisis has been intensified by an economic crisis in Yemen and the continued war around the rebel-led Red Sea port of Hudayah, Yemen’s lifeline port in which 90% of imported food, supplies and resources went through.

Courtesy: Foreign Affairs – Yemen Crisis

“Yemen relies on imports for food, fuel, medicine, and essential resources,” said Lowcock. “And the foreign exchange from oil exports, money sent home by Yemenis out of the country and international assistance has been inadequate to finance and support the population”

Clashes have also blocked access to a facility where grain is milled, a facility that could feed 3.7 million people for a month.

Lowcock has called for a humanitarian cease-fire around aid facilities and infrastructure, protection of supply of food and goods, delivery of humanitarian and commercial imports to all ports and onward, increased funding for the humanitarian operation and for all parties to engage in peace talks.

Hi! My name is Krysten Brenlla, an FSU senior double majoring in Public Relations & Editing Writing & Media, from beautiful Miami, Florida. I'm an aspiring Integrated Marketing guru, with a passion for movies, television shows, mystery books (Agatha Christie all the way) and finally, writing!
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