The UN World Food Program (WFP) warned on Monday that Yemen’s already dire hunger crisis is “teetering on the edge of outright catastrophe” with over 17.4 million Yemenis are food insecure.
The WFP in a statement said that another 1.6 million are expected to fall into emergency levels of hunger in coming months, taking the total of those with emergency needs to 7.3 million by the end of the year.
“These harrowing figures confirm that we are on a countdown to catastrophe in Yemen and we are almost out of time to avoid it,” said WFP Executive Director, David Beasley.
According to Beasley, mass starvation and famine will follow unless WFP receives substantial new funding immediately to help these people. “If we act now, there is still a chance to avert imminent disaster and save millions,” Beasley added.
Of extreme concern to humanitarians is the likelihood that the number of people experiencing “catastrophic”– or famine-like – levels of hunger, will increase five-fold, from 31,000 now, to 161,000,by 31 December, according to WFP.
This came as civil unrest intensified in Yemen where the government troops and Iranian-backed Houthi rebels engaged in intensive fighting around the oil-rich northern city of Marib, killing and wounding dozens of people.
The UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg had earlier ended his first week of consultations with key Yemeni parties in a push for a peaceful and sustainable future for the country which has been locked in escalating conflict since 2015.
UNICEF had earlier expressed concern following a surge in violence across Yemen, which left at least 47 children killed or maimed in January and February.
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