Yemen on Verge of 'Largest Famine' Ever if Saudi-Led Blockade Continues


Mark Lowcock, the United Nations under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, warned "it will be the largest starvation the world has seen for many decades, with millions of victims".

Mark Lowcock told reporters after briefing the Security Council on Wednesday that there must be an immediate resumption of regular air flights to the cities of Aden and Sanaa by the United Nations and its partner organizations and immediate access to all ports for food, fuel and medicine.

Saudi Arabia's air defense forces intercepted a ballistic missile fired from Yemen over Riyadh by the Houthi rebels late last week, after which the coalition command announced the closure of all airports and ports of Yemen.

The port has been closed in the wake of a missile launched by Houthi rebels targeting Saudi Arabia.

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The UN warned that the shut-down of the ports could exacerbate the already hard humanitarian crisis, as the war has already brought the country to the brink of starvation.

Italian Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, who holds the council presidency, said members expressed concern about the dire humanitarian situation and stressed "the importance of keeping all of Yemen's ports and airports functioning".

The United Nations and worldwide aid organisations have long criticised the coalition for blocking aid access, especially to north Yemen, which is held by the Iran-aligned Houthi movement.

Lowcock stressed the last point saying, "This is important because humanitarian access to the ports was inadequate even before the measures announced on November 6" by the coalition.

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Lowcock called for an immediate resumption of United Nations and other aid flights to Sanaa and Aden, assurances from the coalition that there would be no further disruptions to those flights, and immediate resumption of humanitarian and commercial port access.

It entered the most active phase after the Saudi-led coalition invaded the country in March 2015.

He called for "immediate access to all sea ports" for deliveries of fuel, food and other vital supplies, as well as assurances from the coalition that there will be no further disruption.

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