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UN Warns of Possible Famine in War-Torn Yemen

  • VOA News

A UNHCR employee arranges aid at the Dubai International Humanitarian city in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, before shipping them to Yemen, May 14, 2015.

A UNHCR employee arranges aid at the Dubai International Humanitarian city in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, before shipping them to Yemen, May 14, 2015.

United Nations officials are warning of a possible famine in Yemen, saying the scale of suffering in the conflict-torn country is "incomprehensible."

In a statement, the U.N. World Food Program said the number of food insecure people in Yemen is now close to 13 million, or one in five of the country's population.

"[The] lack of immediate and unhindered access to people who urgently need food assistance and the shortage of funding create the possibility of famine for millions, mostly women and children," said the WFP.

More violence

The warnings come amid fresh reports of violence. On Thursday, a bomb attack outside the governor's office in the southern city of Aden killed at least four people and wounded 10 others, according to officials.

Pro-government forces retook Aden in mid-July from Houthi rebels, who had seized the city and many other areas, including the capital, Sanaa, in March.

UN official 'shocked'

U.N. humanitarian chief Stephen O'Brien warned Wednesday that unless the fighting ends soon, "there will be nothing left to fight for." O'Brien briefed the Security Council Wednesday on his just completed trip to Yemen, saying he is shocked by what he saw.

"Nearly 1.5 million people are internally displaced. More than 1,000 children have been killed or injured and the number of young people recruited or used as fighters is increasing."

O'Brien condemned what he called the disregard for human life by all parties in the fighting. He decried the damage to major port cities which he says are the main lifelines for bringing in basic goods.

"Airports and seaports need to remain open and be used for both commercial imports and humanitarian supplies, without restrictions," O'Brien said.

Saudi-led Arab coalition airstrikes have been targeting Iranian-backed Houthi rebels who control the capital, Sana'a and much of northern Yemen. The flow of Saudi weapons to pro-government fighters have had some success against the Houthis.

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