09/19/2018, 09.47
YEMEN
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Five million children risk famine in Yemen

The country continues to suffer dramatic surge in food and fuel prices. The cost of foodstuffs has increased by 68% compared to the pre-war period. The local currency has lost 180% of its value and has reached the historical minimum. A situation that could create "an unprecedented hunger". Hundreds of thousands of minors in "immediate danger" situation.

Sana'a (AsiaNews / Agencies) - More than five million children are at risk of famine in Yemen, while food and fuel prices soar throughout the Arab country in the context of a n increasingly bitter conflict. An offensive by the government forces against the Houthi Shiite rebels in Hudaydah and the consequent blockade of the port, with a further interruption of supplies, is compounding an already extreme situation.

According to activists and NGOs the risk is of an  "unprecedented famine". Over a million children are likely to fall below the minimum subsistence threshold, in the context of price escalation. The closure of the port, added the operators in the field, "puts the lives of hundreds of thousands" of minors in a situation of "immediate danger".

For "millions of children" it is not even known "where or when" the next meal will come. The failure of the UN peace talks in Geneva at the beginning of the month triggered further clashes between the two fronts for the control of the port city of Hudaydah, eventually aggravating the situation.

The extent of the conflict in Yemen is confirmed by the figures: 20 million people depend on humanitarian aid; 17.8 million people suffer from food insecurity; 16.4 million people do not have access to health care. According to a World Health Organization (WHO) the death toll since 2015, the start date of the war, is around 10 thousand dead and 55 thousand injured.

The Wahhabi-led coalition is burdened by accusations of "unacceptable" violence and loss of human lives because it is responsible for 51% of deaths among civilians, among whom there are also children.

This war, experts warn, risks killing "an entire generation" of children in Yemen, who face "multiple threats: from bombs to starvation, to diseases that can be prevented like cholera". The conflict has also led to a serious delay in the payment of salaries, particularly in the public sector (teachers and officials). Some categories have not received their salary for almost two years.

Meanwhile, the cost of food has increased by 68% compared to the pre-war period, which has also destroyed the local currency that has touched the lowest point in its history. In these three years the Yemeni Riyal has lost around 180% of its value.

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