Speed Reads

crisis in yemen

With half of Yemen's population going hungry, drop in humanitarian aid is 'a death sentence'

In war-torn Yemen, humanitarian agencies believe that 400,000 children under five are at risk of dying from malnutrition.

In Shabwa province, the number of serious cases of malnutrition increased 10 percent in 2020, and in the town of Abs, serious cases rose 41 percent, The Guardian's Middle East correspondent Bethan McKernan reports. It is estimated that 16 million people, half of Yemen's entire population, are going hungry.

Civil war broke out in Yemen six years ago, with Houthi rebels fighting the Yemeni government. Now, it's also a proxy war between Iran, which backs the Houthis, and Saudi Arabia, which leads a coalition that supports the government. Tens of thousands of Yemenis have been killed or injured in the fighting, and with malnutrition, cholera, coronavirus, and dengue fever running rampant, the United Nations says Yemen is experiencing the world's worst humanitarian crisis. One doctor that McKernan spoke to said he fears Yemen is losing an entire generation to war, especially as boys as young as 11 are being recruited to fight and girls under 14 are being married off.

The UN is having a hard time raising enough money for 2021 humanitarian efforts, as several countries aren't donating as much as in years past. The United Kingdom, which supports the Saudi-led coalition, is cutting its aid in half, and this is essentially a "death sentence" for people in Yemen, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a statement. Read more about the crisis in Yemen at The Guardian.