Yemen suffers severe food shortage

Indo Asian News Service

Sana'a, Nov 28 (IANS) Conflict-affected Yemenis on Wednesday gathered to receive free bread at a charity bakery amid a severe food shortage in the capital Sana'a after three years of devastating civil war.

Fourteen million people are at risk of starvation in Yemen, but even with the European Union's pledge on Tuesday to send another 30 million euros ($33.8 million) in aid, many shipping companies are avoiding the key port of Hodeida because of fighting there, the UN World Food Programme warned.

Epa-efe photos showed dozens of Yemeni men and women lined up in front of the sky-blue doors and windows of the charity bakery early on Wednesday morning as spiralling food prices have put even basic necessities out of reach for many.

Yemen's civil war, in particular the Saudi Arabia-led bombing campaign supported by the US that began in 2015, has collapsed much of the country's already rudimentary infrastructure, isolated vulnerable communities and placed much of the country off-limits to international aid efforts.

"Food today is already very, very expensive on the markets because there's not a lot of food _ If less boats arrive, that price will increase even more," WFP spokesperson Herve Verhoosel said at a press conference in Geneva.

Verhoosel said around 70 percent of Yemeni imports come through Hodeida's port, currently under siege from Saudi-backed forces looking to wrest it from the Houthi rebel group, which controls the capital and much of the country's north.

On Monday, five major humanitarian organizations warned that the man-made crisis in Yemen had reached breaking point, and laid the blame squarely on Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the US.

"Countless Yemenis are unlikely to live through the winter unless the parties to the conflict immediately cease hostilities," the joint statement asserted.

--IANS

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