The United Nations food agency has warned that the malnutrition resulting from Saudi Arabia’s aggression against Yemen may end up crippling a whole generation.
“Hunger is increasing every day and people have exhausted all their survival strategies. Millions of people cannot survive without external assistance,” said the World Food Program’s (WFP) Regional Director for the Middle East Muhannad Hadi in a report released on Tuesday.
He noted that the Saudis war on Yemen is taking a terrible toll on the nation, especially on women and children.
According to official findings from June 2016, 14.1 million people are food insecure, seven million of whom severely food insecure.
“An entire generation could be crippled by hunger,” said WFP Country Director Torben Due. “We need to provide a full ration to every family in need, but sadly we have had to reduce the size of the food basket and split assistance between impoverished families to meet growing needs.”
The WFP recently sent a team of investigators to impoverished neighborhoods in Yemen’s Hajjah and Hudaydah provinces, where they visited hospitals, nutrition and health centers and talked to locals.
“I borrowed money from my neighbors and family to be able to bring my son from Tuhayta district to the hospital here in Hudaydah to get treatment for malnutrition,” said a woman. “I am breastfeeding him but he is slipping away from us and losing more weight every day. I hardly have food to feed my children, let alone to eat well,” she added.
“We are only surviving on bread as I have nothing else to feed my children and we are lucky if we have enough bread for everyone,” said another local woman.
Meanwhile, the UN’s envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed has called on warring parties in the country to accept a proposed peace plan he presented to the Houthi Ansarullah movement and its allies.
Earlier, hundreds of demonstrators staged a mass protest in Yemen’s capital Sana’a, denouncing the United Nations’ “complicity” in Saudi Arabia’s war on the country.
Large crowds of protesters, who gathered outside a Sana’a hotel where Cheikh Ahmed was staying, accused him of “sympathizing with Al Saud.”
“Leave, leave Yemen,” the demonstrators chanted. “The UN and the Security Council are complicit in the killing of Yemenis,” read one of the banners at the protest.
Despite renewal calls by the UN envoy, a 72-hour ceasefire ended on Saturday. The truce had been brokered by the UN to allow aid to reach families trapped in areas cut off by the war in Yemen.
More than 10,000 people have been killed since the regime in Riyadh launched its campaign in March 2015. The military aggression was meant to undermine the Ansarullah movement and reinstall Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh who has resigned as Yemen’s president.