UN appeals for $2.1 bn for Yemen aid as famine looms

UN appeals for $2.1 bn for Yemen aid as famine looms 

The United Nations appealed for $2.1 billion to provide desperately needed aid to millions of people in war-ravaged Yemen this year, warning the country could soon face famine.

Two years of war have devastated Yemen and millions of children, women and men desperately need help to survive the coming year. 

Without international support, they may face the threat of famine in the course of 2017. 

The appeal from U.N. agencies and other humanitarian organizations aims to gather funds to help some 12 million of the nearly 19 million people expected to need assistance across Yemen this year.

Yemen has been engulfed in war for years, but the conflict escalated dramatically in March 2015 when the Saudi-led coalition launched air raids against Shite Houthi rebels, who had taken over the capital and seized swathes of the country’s center and north.

Nearly 7,500 people have been killed and more than 40,000 injured since the conflict escalated two years ago, while more than two million people remain displaced inside Yemen, according to U.N. numbers.  

But the fighting has also dramatically exacerbated the drawn-out humanitarian crisis in one of the world’s poorest countries, leaving a full two thirds of the population in need of aid.

More than 10 million people need immediate, life-saving aid, including more than two million children who are acutely malnourished.

Nearly half a million children under five were meanwhile suffering from life-threatening severe, acute malnutrition at the end of 2016, a 57-percent increase over 2015, the report said.

A staggering 3.3 million people; including 2.1 million children are acutely malnourished. 

An estimated 63,000 Yemeni children died last year of preventable causes often linked to malnutrition, the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said last week. 

Yemens problems were exacerbated when the Saudi led coalition bombed the Airport, in Sanaa and the Huddaya shipping port, with the more recent airport bombing in 2016 compounding an already serious issue. These two sites were strategically, vital locations that have strangled the largely import reliant country. 

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