World’s worst humanitarian crisis escalating

The world’s worst humanitarian crisis being played out in Yemen is about to escalate.

The United Nations estimates 8.4 million people are on the brink of famine.

So far at least 10,000 Yemenis have been killed since the war broke out in Yemen in March 2015.

Cafod, a Catholic Aid agency, says the Saudi-led coalition’s assault on Hodeida, Yemen’s main port city, will have a “catastrophic impact” on the ability of relief groups to get food, medicine and other aid to vulnerable Yemeni families in urgent need of assistance.

This is because 90 percent of all Yemen’s food imports pass through Hodeida.

“Any disruption to the port’s operation will affect the entire country,” says Giovanna Reda, CAFOD’s head of humanitarian programmes for the Middle East.

“CAFOD [the overseas aid agency of the bishops of England and Wales] partner staff in the country remain on the frontline, doing everything they can to reach people who are in urgent need of humanitarian aid.”

“Hunger affects 17 million Yemenis, which is 60 per cent of the population. People do not know where and when they will get their next meal.”

Furthermore, Reda says millions don’t have access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation.

“Last year, the country faced the largest outbreak of cholera, claiming the lives of thousands of people.”

About 22 million people in Yemen, representing about three-quarters of the population, are dependent on food aid.

Almost 400,000 children under the age of five are severely or acutely malnourished. Many have died of starvation.

The UN is calling for all parties to the conflict “to meet their obligations to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure and take active steps to respect international humanitarian law.”


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