On Tuesday U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed for a total of US$2.1 billion in aid to avoid the “starving of an entire generation,” in Yemen.
The request was made at the commencement of a donor session conference in Geneva. “On average, a child under the age of five dies of preventable causes in Yemen every 10 minutes,” said Guterres, adding that, “this means 50 children in Yemen will die during today’s conference and all of those deaths could have been prevented.”
Even if aid is provided, getting assistance to the Yemeni people amid the war-torn country may prove to be a serious challenge. It has been reported that the Saudi-led coalition may continue to target the strategic port of Hodeidah.
According to U.N. officials, nearly two-thirds of the Yemeni population — approximately 19 million people — are in need of emergency assistance. UNICEF’s Mideast and North Africa Director Geert Cappelaere told AP, “There is no single country in the world where, today, children are suffering more than in Yemen.”
Robert Mardini, Red Cross’s regional director for the Middle East, told RT, “Saying that the humanitarian situation is catastrophic is certainly an understatement. Today in Yemen we have teams on the ground and they bear witness every day of the immense suffering of the Yemeni people.”
Yemen’s hunger emergency is mostly due to the Saudi-led, US-backed military campaign against the country. The U.N. has sharply criticized previous attacks on the country’s main port of Hodeidah which has obstructed attempts to import food and fuel supplies.