Yemen today is the world’s largest humanitarian crisis as nearly 70 percent of the population is in need of aid, the UN said on Thursday.
“7.3 million people are on the brink of famine,” Kate Gilmore, UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, told the 36th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Gilmore noted that out of a population of 27.4 million people, “18.8 million today are in need of humanitarian assistance, including 10.3 million in acute need”.
Over three million people have been forced to flee their homes and, more than 680,000 suspected cases of cholera have been identified since April this year, Gilmore added.
Yemen fell into civil war in 2014 when Houthi rebels overran the capital Sanaa and much of the country, forcing the internationally recognized government to flee to Saudi Arabia.
In 2015, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a massive air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.
“This catastrophe is entirely man-made. The parties to the conflict, and their supporters, are directly responsible for these appalling and inhumane conditions,” the UN official said.
“The imposition of sieges, blockades and restrictions on movement that they have chosen to impose have severely impacted on the availability and accessibility of critical life-sustaining goods and services, including even humanitarian relief,” she added.
According to UN officials, more than 10,000 people have been killed in the war, while more than 11 percent of the country’s population has been displaced as a direct result of the conflict.