Yemen in imminent danger of world’s worst famine in decades, warns UN

New Delhi (NVI): War-torn Yemen is in imminent danger of the worst famine the world has seen in decades, United Nations warned.

“In the absence of immediate action, millions of lives may be lost,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said for the country that has endured a five-year war between Iranian-backed Houthi rebels and government forces.

A Saudi Arabia-led military coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015, backing government forces fighting the Houthi group.

Guterres said the reasons for the heightened threat of famine include a sharp drop in funding for the UN-coordinated relief programme, the instability of the Yemeni currency and the warring parties imposing “impediments” for relief organisations.

Furthermore, aid workers have raised fears that if Washington designates the Houthis a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), it could prevent life-saving aid reaching the country.

UN officials are trying to revive peace talks to end the war as the country’s suffering is also worsened by an economic and currency collapse and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The United Nations describes Yemen as the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, with 80 per cent of its population in need of help.

In addition to this, UN aid chief Mark Lowcock has said the United Nations has received less than half of what was needed this year – about USD 1.5 billion – for its humanitarian operations in Yemen. Last year it received USD 3 billion.

-CHK