Senior United Nations officials warned on Wednesday that millions of people in war-torn Yemen were facing starvation – as they again appealed for more money to prevent it.
“We are on a countdown right now to a catastrophe,” UN food chief David Beasley told the UN Security Council, according to Reuters. “We have been here before … We did almost the same dog-and-pony show. We sounded the alarm then.”
The UN has described Yemen – one of the globe’s poorest nations – as the world’s largest humanitarian crisis – where at least 80 percent of the people are in need of help.
Beasley told the 15-member council that if “we choose to look away there’s no doubt in my mind Yemen will be plunged into a devastating famine within a few short months.”
“Yemen previously faced famine in 2017 and it was only a massive injection of cash that staved off almost certain catastrophe,” according to UN aid Chief Mark Lowcock.
He told the Security Council that the world body had only received about half of the funds it needs – $1.5 billion – for its Yemen humanitarian operations. In 2019, it received $3 billion.
“When I think about what famine would mean, I am really at a loss to understand why more is not being done to prevent it,” Lowcock said. “It is a terrible, agonizing and humiliating death … Yemenis are not ‘going hungry’. They are being starved.”