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UN Food Agency: Yemen Enduring 'Humanitarian Catastrophe'

People walk on the rubble of a house destroyed by a Saudi-led airstrike in Yemen's capital, Sanaa, Jan. 29, 2016.

Yemen is facing chronic mass starvation, a United Nations report warns, calling it a "forgotten crisis."

The poorest country in the Middle East may be on the brink of famine while it faces bombing and a blockade from a Saudi-led coalition.

More than half of the total population of Yemen — some 14.4 million people — are food insecure, the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization said in a report.

The number of food insecure people has grown by 12 percent since June, according to the U.N. agency.

Fuel shortages and restrictions on imports have reduced the availability of essential food commodities and caused food and fuel prices to soar since conflict escalated in March 2015.

Humanitarian organizations have repeatedly warned that 80 percent of the Yemeni population desperately needs food, water, medical supplies and fuel. The U.N. has called what the Yemenis are enduring a "humanitarian catastrophe."

The conflict in Yemen has been escalating since President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi was forced to flee the country after Iran-backed Houthi rebels captured the capital of Sanaa in January 2015. He has since returned to the country, but has been forced to lead from the port city of Aden.

A Saudi-led coalition is assisting Hadi in his battle against the Houthis, conducting airstrikes against the insurgents.