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A million more children at risk of ‘starvation on an unprecedented scale’ in Yemen

Save the Children says the Western-backed war risks ‘killing an entire generation of children’

THE Western-backed war on Yemen is in danger of leaving a further one million children without enough food to sustain life, Save the Children warned today.

The humanitarian charity warned of “starvation on an unprecedented scale” in the Middle East’s poorest country, where 5.2 million children face famine due to a food blockade at the port of Hudayda.

In a new report, Save the Children says an additional one million children are at risk of famine as rising food prices and a drop in the value of Yemen’s currency cause widespread food insecurity.

Around two-thirds of the country’s population receive food supplies through Hudayda, which has been the scene of intense fighting between Houthi rebels and the Western-backed Saudi-led coalition that is imposing the blockade, despite warnings of a humanitarian catastrophe.

Following the collapse of talks in Geneva  earlier this month, the United Nations has warned that, “in a worst-case scenario,” the battle for Hudaydah could cost up to 250,000 lives.

Saudi forces have accused Iran of smuggling weapons to Houthi rebels through the port, though both parties deny the allegations.

And Save the Children warned that any blockade of Hudayda “would put the lives of hundreds of thousands of children in immediate danger, while pushing millions more into famine.”

War has raged in Yemen since Houthi rebels ousted Saudi-backed President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi in 2014. 

Riyadh and its regional allies began their bombing campaign in March 2015 aimed at reinstalling Mr Hadi’s government.

However, the coalition been accused of war crimes. Last month, it received global condemnation for firing a missile at a school bus, killing more than 40 children as they returned from a picnic.

A total of some 10,000 people, 6,000 of them civilians, have died in the conflict, according to the UN, and, despite claims that only “rebels” are targeted, much of the country’s infrastructure has been destroyed.

With millions of people on the brink of starvation and a deadly cholera epidemic attributed to the war, Britain and the US have nonetheless continued to provide Saudi Arabia with weapons and military support.

Save the Children chief executive Helle Thorning-Schmidt said: “Millions of children don’t know when or if their next meal will come. In one hospital I visited in north Yemen, the babies were too weak to cry, their bodies exhausted by hunger.

“This war risks killing an entire generation of Yemen’s children, who face multiple threats from bombs to hunger to preventable diseases like cholera.”

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