Yemen faces worsening threat of famine: UN aid chief

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NEWYORK: International aid agencies are losing the fight against famine in Yemen, where 3.5 million people may soon be added to the eight million Yemenis already facing starvation, the UN aid chief warned yesterday. A sharp drop in the value of Yemen´s currency that has sent fuel prices spiraling compounded with renewed fighting has led to a worsening of what the United Nations already considers the world´s worst humanitarian crisis.

“We are losing the fight against famine,” Mark Lowcock, the under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, told the Security Council. “We are already seeing pockets of famine-like-conditions – including cases where people are eating leaves because they have no other form of sustenance,” he said.

The council was meeting at Britain´s request to discuss the worsening crisis in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is fighting Iran-aligned rebels who control the capital Sanaa. Lowcock said the situation had deteriorated “in an alarming way in recent weeks” and that the crisis may be approaching “a tipping point, beyond which it will be impossible to prevent massive loss of life.” The stark warning came ahead of next week´s gathering of world leaders at the United Nations for the annual debate on global issues that will feature meetings on Yemen. —Agencies

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