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Yemen facing worst famine in modern times - UN

11 marzo 2021 | 19.35
LETTURA: 1 minuti

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Washington Post photo by Sudarsan Raghavan

Yemen is heading for "the biggest famine in modern history" and 400,000 children could die this year in the war-ravaged country unless nations act and a US-backed Saudi blockade is lifted, a top UN official warned on Thursday.

“Just two days ago, I was in Yemen, where over 16 million people now face crisis levels of hunger or worse," UN World Food Programme chief David Beasley told the UN Security Council.

"We are headed straight toward the biggest famine in modern history," Beasley said.

Around 400,000 children may die in Yemen this year unless the international community acts urgently, Beasley underlined.

"That is roughly one child every 75 seconds," he said. "It is hell on earth in many places in Yemen right now."

A fuel blockade means most hospitals are in darkness as they only have electricity in their intensive care units because fuel reserves are so low, Beasley stated, adding that he had seen this at first hand.

"The people of Yemen deserve our help. That blockade must be lifted, as a humanitarian act. Otherwise, millions more will spiral into crisis,” Beasley warned.

Yemen is part of a "destructive new wave of famine that threatens to sweep across the world", which is mainly driven by conflict and "entirely preventable", Beasley stressed.

"The toll being paid in human misery is unimaginable...the potential consequences are truly global: economic deterioration, destabilization, mass migration and starvation."

In 2019 alone, the costs of conflict was $14.5 trillion dollars annually – 15 percent of global GDP," Beasley noted.

"It would take a fraction of this money to fund the development programmes that could transform the lives of people in fragile, conflict-scarred nations and help lay new pathways to peace,” he concluded.

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