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Iran Press TV

Yemen on verge of famine amid Saudi attacks: UN officials

Iran Press TV

Fri Dec 16, 2016 11:6AM

The United Nations aid official in Yemen says the country is on the brink of famine, with a Saudi-led war having battered its economy and preventing distribution of food supplies to the hunger-stricken.

Jamie McGoldrick, the world body's Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen, told Reuters on Friday that almost half of the country's 22 provinces had officially been rated as being in an emergency food situation.

The course of the plight has been translated to a five-point scale. The situation places Yemen in the fourth stage.

Yemen's former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi resigned last year in spite of calls on him to revise the decision. The Riyadh-allied former head of state has been seeking to forcibly return to power since March 2015 on the back of the Saudi warfare.

More than 11,400 people have died in the Arabian Peninsula's poorest nation since the war began, according to the latest tally by a Yemeni monitoring group.

McGoldrick described the economy as "shredded."

"I know there are some worrying developments and the deterioration we've seen in the economy and the health services and the ability to supply food would only give us an estimate that things are going to get much worse," McGoldrick said.

Reports, meanwhile, said Yemen's biggest traders had stopped new wheat imports due to a crisis at the Central Bank. The complication was caused in September when Hadi ordered the bank to be relocated from the capital Sana'a to the port city of Aden, where he and his loyalists are currently based.

The UN official said, "Throughout the whole of this country kids are dying."

Eight out of 10 Yemeni children are stunted by malnutrition and every 10 minutes a child dies due to preventable diseases, UN figures have shown.

Lack of funding and the fortunes of war have prevented the United Nations from properly distributing foodstuff through the country, where the offensive has left more than half of its 28 million people "food insecure," with seven million of them enduring hunger.

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