Lift Yemen blockade or expect 'largest famine'


The council demanded that the Saudi-led coalition keep Yemen's air and sea ports open to aid deliveries in a country where seven million people are already at risk of starvation.

Yemen is facing a mass starvation that will affect millions of lives unless the Saudi-led coalition ends its blockade and allows aid deliveries into the country, the United Nations humanitarian chief has warned.

Yemen could face "the largest starvation the world has seen for many decades, with millions of victims", if the Saudi Arabia-led coalition does not lift the blockade on the war-torn country, a senior United Nations aid official said Wednesday.

The move, which follows the interception of a missile fired toward the Saudi capital Riyadh on Saturday, is likely to worsen a humanitarian crisis in Yemen that according to the United Nations has pushed some seven million people to the brink of starvation and left almost 900,000 infected with cholera.

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He said he told the council that "there will be starvation in Yemen" unless five steps are taken immediately.

The port has been closed in the wake of a missile launched by Houthi rebels targeting Saudi Arabia.

The Arab world's poorest country, Yemen is nearly totally dependent on imports for food, fuel and medicine.

The remarks came one day after Saudi Arabia's crown prince said that a ballistic missile fired at the kingdom by Yemeni rebels was a "direct military aggression by the Iranian regime".

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The U.N. humanitarian chief warns that unless the Saudi-led military coalition lifts its blockade on Yemen the war-torn nation will face "the largest starvation the world has seen for many decades with millions of victims".

The OHCHR said that on November 1, two air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition hit the Al Layl market in the Olaaf area of Sahaar district in Saada governorate, killing 31 civilians, including six children, and wounding 24 others.

"Humanitarian supply lines to Yemen must remain open", said Robert Mardini, the Red Cross's regional director for the Near and Middle East. "Food, medicine and other essential supplies are critical for the survival of 27 million Yemenis already weakened by a conflict now in its third year".

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