The United Nations has appealed for nearly 2 billion euros to provide life-saving assistance to avert famine in war-ravaged Yemen.
Around two thirds of Yemen’s population are affected, with more than 10 million people said to be in dire need of urgent aid.
Earlier, the UN’s emergency relief coordinator Stephen O’Brien warned malnutrition in the country was rising at an alarming rate.
“Yemen is one of the most food insecure countries in the world. A staggering 7.3 million people do not know where their next meal is coming from. If there is no immediate action, and despite the ongoing humanitarian efforts, famine is now a real possibility for 2017. Malnutrition is rife, and is rising at an alarming rate,” O’Brien said.
Yemen has been divided by nearly two years of fighting between Iran backed Houthi rebels and pro-government forces supported by a Saudi-led coalition.
The UN says the civil war has not only devastated the country’s infrastructure but left the economy and public institutions on the verge of collapse.
Last week, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said an estimated 63,000 Yemeni children died last year from preventable causes often linked to malnutrition.
“In Yemen, if bombs don’t kill you, a slow and painful death by starvation is now an increasing threat,” Jan Egeland, secretary-general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, said as the UN launched its appeal.