Yemen could face famine in 2018 as war continues, aid agencies warn

Yemen could face famine in 2018 as war continues, aid agencies warn
Tue Jan 16, 2018 14:06:25

Already battered by three years of war, Yemen is in danger of tipping into famine in 2018 if fighting continues to disrupt imports of food aid, aid agencies warned.

(Reuters) -- In the worst-case scenario, the war-torn nation "faces a risk of famine" if there is prolonged and significant disruption to imports through its two Red Sea ports, said a specialist U.S.-based agency.

More people are predicted to go hungry in July 2018 than in the same month last year, added the Famine Early Warning Systems Network in its latest analysis, which focuses on projected food needs for July.

A Saudi-led military coalition fighting the Houthi movement had closed key ports, Hodeidah, which is the country's main entry point for food and humanitarian supplies, and Saleef, in early November.

Yemen, a nation of 28 million people, imports more than 85 percent of its food and medicine.

The ports have temporarily re-opened for 30 days, and cranes arrived on Monday to help with the aid flow, but it's unclear if they will stay that way, said Stephen Anderson, Yemen country director for the World Food Programme (WFP).

Yemenis are facing "an extremely bleak outlook", with continued conflict, high fuel and food prices and disease concerns such as the cholera outbreak and the spread of diphtheria, Anderson added.

Disrupting humanitarian access would deepen what the United Nations already calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis, said Rosanne Marchesich, a Rome-based emergency response team leader at the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

(Photo: AP)

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