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United Nations agencies concerned about blocked humanitarian access in Yemen, deaths of civilians
09 November 2017, 11:47 | Melissa Porter
Yemen Army Targets Pro-Saudi Militants with Homegrown Missile
United Nations aid chief Mark Lowcock warned on Wednesday that if a Saudi-led military coalition did not allow humanitarian aid access to Yemen then it would cause "the largest starvation the world has seen for many decades with millions of victims".
Mark Lowcock, the United Nations under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs, urged the Saudi-led coalition to lift its blockade of the conflict-torn country.
Mr Lowcock was speaking on Wednesday, after briefing the UN Security Council on the issue behind closed doors.
The Saudi-led alliance tightened its air, land and sea blockade of Yemen after a ballistic missile was sacked on Saturday towards the Saudi capital, Riyadh.
Italian Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, who holds the council presidency, said members expressed concern about the dire humanitarian situation and stressed "the importance of keeping all of Yemen's ports and airports functioning".
According to SBS News, "some 17 million Yemenis are in desperate need of food, seven million of whom are at risk of starvation and cholera has caused more than 2,000 deaths".
The coalition tightened its blockade in Yemen this week after a ballistic missile fired by Houthi rebels was intercepted near the Saudi capital.
The country "relies on imports for virtually everything civilians need to survive, but now neither food, fuel nor medicine can get in", says the BBC.
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".
"Children are losing their lives all the time in Yemen", he said, because they are malnourished and don't have the ability to fight off even a cold.
The UN says seven million Yemenis are on the brink of starvation.
Council members also reiterated the need for the coalition and the Houthis "to provide full, safe, rapid and unhindered access for humanitarian supplies and United Nations personnel to the population of all affected governorates, including by air, land and sea".
A Saudi-led military coalition has been at war with the Iranian-backed Houthis for more than two years.
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