Nearly 11 million in Yemen facing severe food crisis, UN aid agencies warn

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The UN aid agencies said nearly 11 million people in Yemen are facing severe food insecurity due to the current fighting in the country, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters here Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said that nearly 10.6 million Yemenis are now severely food insecure, of whom, 4.8 million are facing "emergency" conditions, suffering from severe lack of food access, very high and increasing malnutrition, and irreversible destruction of livelihoods, Dujarric said at a daily news briefing here.

The (UN) Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs ( OCHA) claimed that "the ongoing conflict has significantly exacerbated the humanitarian needs for millions of people," according to Dujarric.

"The suspension of commercial flights to Yemen continues to limit access for international humanitarian staff in and out of the country," the spokesman said. "Operations at sea ports are also restricted. Armed clashes in southern Yemen have inhibited the delivery of supplies to areas with the greatest need."

Despite the challenges, a second aircraft loaded with lifesaving supplies from the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) arrived at Sana'a International Airport in the national capital of Yemen Tuesday, bringing nearly 76 metric tonnes of antibiotics, bandages and syringes, IV sets and other materials.

UNICEF warned the food and fuel crisis is intensifying rapidly, as supply ships carrying wheat and fuel were recently refused entry at Hodeidah port on the western coast of Yemen.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 730 people have been killed and nearly 2,760 have been injured in the country so far.

The UN Refugees Agency (UNHCR) reported that 1,260 people fleeing conflict have arrived in Djibouti and Somalia over the past two weeks. It is making contingency plans to receive an additional 30,000 refugees in Djibouti and 100,000 in Somalia over the next six months.

The security situation in Yemen has sharply deteriorated since early March when conflicts erupted in several provinces in the country's southern regions.

A coalition led by Saudi Arabia started air strikes on Houthi targets in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa and other cities late last month, saying the multinational action is to protect President Abd- Rabbu Mansour Hadi's legitimacy and force the Houthis to retreat from cities they have seized since September 2014.

Yemen has been mired in political gridlock since 2011 when mass protests forced former President Ali Abdullash Saleh to step down.

The three-year reconciliation talks failed to resolve the crisis but created huge power vacuum that could benefit the powerful al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and other extremist groups. Endite

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