SANAA, The war in Yemen is contributing to what the United Nations says could become "the worst famine in the world in 100 years."
The escalation of the conflict since March 2015 has dramatically aggravated the protection crisis in which millions face risks to their safety and basic rights, OCHA reports.
Before the escalation of the war in Yemen, the country imported 90 per cent of its staple food and nearly all its fuel and medicine, after the war escalated in March 2015, border crossings, airports and harbors have been closed intermittently.
Highlighting that more than 20 million people across the country are food insecure, half of them suffering extreme levels of hunger, the report focuses on some key humanitarian issues: basic survival needs, protection of civilians and livelihoods and essential basic services.
Over 16 million lack access to basic health care, as the airstrikes continue � one every 99 minutes for the past three years � Yemenis are unable to access the food and health services they need to survive.
Close to 240,000 people are already living in famine like conditions in some locations. Hunger is most severe in the areas where there is fighting.
Food insecurity is most severe in areas with active fighting and is particularly affecting IDPs and host communities, marginalized groups, fishing communities and landless wage laborers.
In 2019 Humanitarian Needs Overview for Yemen report, shows that 14.3 million people are classified as being in acute need, with around 3.2 million requiring treatment for acute malnutrition; that includes two million children under-five, and more than one million pregnant and lactating women.
Children, the chronically ill, the elderly and disabled, and pregnant women and nursing mothers are at particularly high risk of starvation and sickness.
There are over 11 million Yemeni children in need of aid � that's almost every child in the country, a Yemeni child dies every ten minutes from entirely preventable war-related causes, and thousands have already been killed or injured as a result of conflict.
The UN agency data shows that a total of 17.8 million people lack access to safe water and sanitation, and 19.7 million lack access to adequate healthcare.
More than half of Yemen's health care facilities have already been destroyed. On top of that, the coalition is restricting access to ports, and all sides to the conflict have restricted humanitarian organizations from providing lifesaving medicine and clean water, this only exacerbates the growing cholera epidemic, which has taken over 2,300 lives in the past year.
Meanwhile, grain which could help feed millions, is still at risk of rotting in a key Red Sea storage facility because conditions are too unsafe to reach it, UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths and UN Emergency relief chief Mark Lowcock said earlier this week.
This crisis only continues to grow as conflict rages on and those in need are prevented from receiving lifesaving assistance.
As many as 4.3 million people have been displaced during the conflict, including approximately 3.3 million people who remain displaced, and about 60 per cent have been displaced since the conflict escalated four years ago.
In 2019, displacement is anticipated to continue in proportion to the intensity of conflict, with partners projecting that between 500,000 and 1.2 million people will be newly displaced depending on conflict dynamics.
177,000 people have crossed Yemen's borders into neighboring countries in search of protection since the conflict escalated.
The country's geography and conflict dynamics restrict the options of people trying to flee abroad, people are penned in by the ocean and the desert, with only Saudi Arabia, and Oman as direct neighbors, Yemen is surrounded by extensive and highly insecure terrain to the east, its neighboring countries are reachable only via a perilous sea journey to the south.
During the past four years of intense conflict forces have left tens of thousands dead or injured including at least 17,700 civilians as verified by the UN.
The agency adds that an estimated 3.3 million people remain displaced, up from 2.2 million last year, including 685,000 people who fled fighting in Hodeidah and on the west coast, from June onwards. According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the number of sites hosting displaced people has increased by almost half over the past 12 months.
Thousands of schools have also been closed due to the conflict, keeping 2 million children out of the classroom.
Every day Yemeni civilians continue to be killed and injured in their homes, cars, buses, farms and markets. Houses, schools, hospitals and water tanks continue to be destroyed and damaged by coalition in this conflict, with air strikes inflicting the most damage.
The Yemen Data Project has reported that while the overall number of air attacks decreased during 2018, the proportion of those attacks striking civilian targets rose, while attacks on military targets fell, they report that of the 3,362 air raids in Yemen in 2018, 420 of these air raids hit residential areas.
On average, it is estimated that 600 civilian structures, are damaged or destroyed every month.
In November 2018, the Saudi and UAE led Coalition completely shut down Hodeidah port for one month further exacerbating the humanitarian crisis. Today, the Coalition continues to impose restrictions on commercial goods, fuel, food and medicine coming in to the country.
These restrictions have contributed to pushing up the price of essential goods and have created a shortage in medicines and fuel coming in to the country, Sana'a airport remains closed to domestic and international flights preventing Yemenis from getting treatment for life threatening medical conditions abroad.
Staple food items are now on average 150 per cent higher than before the crisis escalated. A combination of factors such the use of blockade, restrictions on commercial goods, the collapse of the economy and public services, coupled with disruptions to livelihoods and economic activities, with 600,000 jobs lost and with teachers, health workers and civil servants in the northern parts of the country not being paid for years is deepening the needs in Yemen and pushing millions of Yemenis to the brink of famine.
Lack of wages and medication has led to the collapse of public health services, and few can afford private health services. Lack of vaccines and medicine has caused many, especially children, to die from easily treated diseases. A Cholera outbreak that began in 2016 is still affecting the country. The United Nations warned that in the worst case 250,000 civilians could be killed in an attack on Hodeidah, with aid cutoff to 22 million civilians in need of support, blocking this port could also trigger famine as millions are already on the brink of starvation.
The port city of Hodeidah, where 70% of imports enter the country, is under relentless attack from airstrikes and naval ships. Houses, farms, livestock, businesses, roads, medical facilities and water facilities have all been hit in recent months.
Civilians continue to be killed, injured and forced from their homes as a result of conflict and destruction. As Kamel Jendoubi, Chair of the Group of Eminent Experts, said, There is little evidence of any attempt by parties to the conflict to minimize civilian casualties."
To avoid more deaths and suffering we must continue to scale up humanitarian assistance, donors should give more money, the use of blockade and restrictions on food fuel and medicines must be lifted, and we must see an end to the war.
Yemenis also need to see an end to blockade, all ports and airports reopened, public services restored, and a nation-wide ceasefire so that talks can bring an end to the conflict, this is the only way to break the vicious cycle of human suffering.
Humanitarian aid is increasingly becoming the only lifeline for millions of Yemenis.
As the violence escalates, Yemen remains on the brink of catastrophe," there is no military solution to the end of the war in Yemen."
Source: Yemen News Agency