A third of Yemen’s 22 provinces are on the brink of famine, the UN said Friday, warning that 60 percent of the war-ravaged country’s population was going hungry.
Yemen, long one of the world’s poorest nations, has seen its food security deteriorate dramatically since its civil war escalated two years ago after the intervention of a Saudi-led coalition.
“We are deeply concerned that Yemen is on the brink of famine,” Bettina Luescher, a spokeswoman for the U.N.’s World Food Program, told reporters in Geneva.
“Out of the 22 (provinces), seven are in emergency phase four, and that is one level before declaring a famine,” she said.
The WFP is currently providing food to around seven million in Yemen each month, she said, pointing out though that they account for fewer than half the 17 million said to be going hungry.
And even those lucky enough to get aid are not receiving all the nutrients they need, Luescher said, because full rations cannot be afforded.
“Lack of funding, the ongoing conflict, restricted movement of humanitarian aid workers are the major obstacles to get food and other assistance to the people,” she said.