NEW YORK - Yemen could face the “worst famine in the world in 100 years” if fighting continues, the United Nations has warned, as The Independent learned an official declaration of famine would likely be announced in just a few weeks.
Lise Grande, the UN’s coordinator for Yemen, said that as many as 13 million civilians could die from starvation if a Saudi Arabia-led coalition does not halt its bombardment of the impoverished country.
More than 10,00 people have already been killed in the fighting and 3 million internally displaced since the Gulf alliance began bombing the country in 2015 to oust the Shia Houthi rebels.
“I think many of us felt as we went into the 21st century that it was unthinkable that we could see a famine like we saw in Ethiopia ... Yet the reality is that in Yemen that is precisely what we are looking at,” Ms Grande told the BBC.
“We should be ashamed and we should, every day that we wake up, renew our commitment to do everything possible to help the people that are suffering and to end the conflict,” she added.
Ms Grande’s comments came as The Independent learned that in the coming weeks international bodies, including the UN, were likely to raise the integrated food security phase classification (IPC) to five, which means an official declaration of famine.
The IPC is a global scale, initially developed by the UN, to classify levels of hunger in order to trigger an international response.
At the moment Yemen is at level four, which means it is on the brink of famine.
The last country to be declared a level 5 was South Sudan last year.
Yemen has been ripped apart by war since the spring of 2015 when a Saudi-led coalition began bombing the country to reinstate its Sunni ally president Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi. ly Mr Hadi had been chased out of the country by the Iran-backed Houthi rebels that have repeatedly launched long-range missiles at Saudi Arabia.(FA)