By Muhammad Mussa
Yemen is being pushed ever closer to famine after 1,000 days of war and a three-month blockade which has brought its people to the brink of starvation.
Since a Saudi-led coalition imposed a blockade on the country’s main ports, Yemen now imports 90 percent of its food but only a little over a third reaches its people. Today more than 8.4 million people are at risk of starvation according to Oxfam International.
The two-year conflict raging in the Arab world’s poorest country has left the economy in a state of collapse and rendered basic services non-functional.
Since the start of November 2017, food prices have risen by 28 percent making it increasingly difficult for poor families that were already suffering before the outbreak of war.
Power cuts have become a frequent occurrence due to fuel shortages that has also affected the supply of water in major cities.
Yemen is the largest food emergency in the world according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET).
Exacerbating the already-fragile situation has been the outbreak of the world’s largest cholera epidemic which leaves millions of children at risk of contracting the disease.
Hospitals are struggling to tend to the many casualties of the war and are running out of medicine and basic supplies.
The UN says a child under the age of five dies every 10 minutes of preventable causes.
“In 67 districts across 13 governorates is there is a convergence of highest food security and nutrition needs and cholera.
“Ongoing conflict has also worsened protection needs. About 11.3 million people need assistance to protect their safety, dignity or basic rights, including 2.9 million people living in acutely affected areas,” it added.
It also said attacks have hit civilian targets such as houses, hospitals and schools as well as dual-use infrastructure like roads and bridges.
Over the past 1,000 days, over 5,000 civilians have been killed, three million people were forced to flee their homes and nearly one million people were infected in a cholera outbreak.
International organizations have warned that unless the blockade is lifted and the main ports re-opened, Yemen will experience a devastating famine that will plunge the country and its people into even more misery.
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