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UN sounds alarm over Yemen food 'emergency'

Hunger crisis gripping the conflict-wracked state has intensified significantly in the last year

Yemen Civil War

AFP/PTI  |  Rome 

Yemen Flag
Yemen Flag

Virtually all of Yemen is facing severe food shortages with seven million people in an "emergency" situation, UN agencies warned on Tuesday.

The hunger crisis gripping the conflict-wracked state has intensified significantly in the last year and the situation is set to deteriorate further, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Food Programme said in a new report.

Three million children were at risk of malnutrition, it said.

"At least seven million people — a quarter of the population — are living under Emergency levels of food insecurity," the agencies said in a statement.

"This reflects a 15% increase since June 2015. A further 7.1 million people are in a state of Crisis," they said, using a food security ranking system to describe the threat level.

"This clearly show the huge magnitude of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen," said Jamie McGoldrick, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen.

"This is one of the worst crises in the world and is continuing to get worse," he added.

The conflict, fuel shortages, restrictions on imports and a surge in domestic wheat prices have all contributed to the crisis.

Shortages of seeds and fertilisers have crippled crop production across Yemen with struggling farmers having been hit hard by cyclones in November 2015 and flash floods and locust swarms in April this year.

The UN says fighting has left more than 6,400 people dead in Yemen since March last year, the majority of them civilians.

Violence has driven 2.8 million people from their homes and left more than 80% of the population needing humanitarian aid.

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First Published: Tue, June 21 2016. 23:07 IST