The UN warned on Friday that at least 400,000 children in Yemen could die of starvation this year if the war doesn’t end and aid does not reach areas suffering severe food shortages.
A report released by four UN agencies projected that acute malnutrition in the country will rise by 22 percent from 2020, and 2.3 million children will endure acute malnutrition, with one out of six — 400,000 — expected to die if conditions don’t change. The report said about 1.2 million pregnant or breastfeeding women in Yemen could also face acute malnutrition.
The report was issued by the World Food Program (WFP), UNICEF, the World Health Organization, and the Food and Agriculture Organization. “These numbers are yet another cry for help from Yemen, where each malnourished child also means a family struggling to survive,” said David Beasley, the head of the WFP.
The report explained that in 2020, agencies in Yemen only received $1.9 billion of the $3.4 billion needed to operate, causing the shuttering of some food programs. “But there is a solution to hunger, and that’s food and an end to the violence,” Beasley said.
The alarming report comes after President Biden pledged he would end all US support for Saudi Arabia’s “offensive” operations in Yemen and halted planned bomb sales. Since 2015, the US-backed Saudi-led coalition has regularly targeted civilians and infrastructure in Yemen, including food supplies.
The Biden administration is also seeking a diplomatic solution to end the fighting in Yemen. Timothy Lenderking, Biden’s new special envoy for Yemen, is in Saudi Arabia this week to push for an end to the war.
The vicious bombing campaign has been coupled with a land, sea, and air blockade of Yemen. Questions remain over whether or not the US will still support the blockade.