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Yemen could face 'the largest famine' in decades

  • Published at 01:17 pm November 10th, 2017
  • Last updated at 01:21 pm November 10th, 2017
Yemen could face 'the largest famine' in decades
Amid warnings by the United Nations that Yemen could face "the largest famine the world has seen for many decades with millions of victims," aid agencies have called for food, fuel and medicines to be allowed into the country immediately. The Saudi-led military coalition fighting the Houthi movement in Yemen said on Monday it had closed all air, land and sea ports to the Arabian Peninsula country to stem the flow of arms to the Houthis from Iran.

A woman holds her malnourished boy after he was weighed at a hospital malnutrition intensive care unit in Sanaa, Yemen September 27, 2016 | Reuters

Here are some facts: * The World Food Programme estimates the number of Yemenis needing aid has risen to 20 million this year, or more than two-thirds of the population, compared with 17 million in 2016. * 7 million people in Yemen are facing famine-like conditions and rely completely on food aid to survive. In six weeks, the food supplies to feed them will be exhausted. * More than 2 million children are malnourished, and almost 400,000 of those suffer from severe malnutrition and require therapeutic treatment to stay alive.

An eight-year-old malnourished boy lies on a bed in the emergency ward of a hospital in Sanaa, Yemen September 27, 2016 | Reuters

* More than 11 million children need humanitarian aid. * Dozens of ships carrying food and supplies to Yemen have been stopped since 2015 by warships belonging to Saudi Arabia and its allies seeking to stop arms reaching Houthi fighters seeking to overthrow the government.

A malnourished boy lies on a bed outside his family's hut in al-Tuhaita district of the Red Sea province of Hodaida, Yemen September 26, 2016 | Reuters

* Attacks on hospitals and health facilities have increased by a third in the last year.

UN aid chief warns that seven million people are already at risk of famine in Yemen as a result of the conflict | AFP

* An unprecedented cholera epidemic has infected about 900,000 people in Yemen and killed more than 2,100 since April. * Suspected cholera cases are likely to reach one million by the end of 2017.