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Saudi bombing 'targeting food supplies' in Yemen as 8.4 million now at risk of famine

The UN has listed Yemen as the world's number one humanitarian crisis [Getty]

Date of publication: 12 December, 2017

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Saudi Arabia's war tactic include targeting food supplies. Coupled with the harsh economic siege imposed on Yemen, as latest figures show a shocking 8.4 million at risk of famine
Saudi Arabia is systematically targeting Yemen's food sources as a tactic in their campaign against the country, a new report has shown. 

An investigation led by The Guardian found that Saudi Arabia is targeting Yemen’s food supplies. Coupled with the harsh restrictions imposed on the imports, the siege tactics have resulted in the collective punishment of a population of 27 million people, it said.

The investigation highlights how the Saudi-led coalition has "declared war on fishermen" in trying to bomb the Iranian-backed Houthis into submission.

The fishermen's union in Yemen’s western port of Hodeidah has found that more than 250 fishing boats have been damaged or destroyed, and 152 fishermen killed by coalition warships. Hundreds of fishermen have been left injured and unable to work.

The fishing industry is a major lifeline for a country suffering the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. The UN has now warned that there are 8.4 million people "a step away from famine" in Yemen.

Last month, the Saudi-led campaign imposed a blockade on Yemeni ports and airports in response to a missile fired by the Houthis that was intercepted near Riyadh airport.

The UN's World Food Programme has previously declared that food is being used as a weapon of war in Yemen.

Despite easing up since, a senior UN official said that the situation remains dire.

"The continuing blockade of ports is limiting supplies of fuel, food and medicines; dramatically increasing the number of vulnerable people who need help," said Jamie McGoldrick, the humanitarian coordinator for Yemen.

"The lives of millions of people, including 8.4 million Yemenis who are a step away from famine, hinge on our ability to continue our operations and to provide health, safe water, food, shelter and nutrition support," he added.

The UN figures mark an increase from past estimates of aid agencies of around 8 million people on the brink of famine.

The UN's World Food Programme has previously declared that food is being used as a weapon of war in Yemen.

"Yemen is on the brink of famine. Cholera is compounding a dramatic food crisis. Food is being used as a weapon of war," said Elisabeth Rasmussen, WFP assistant executive director. 

The UN has warned that there are 8.4 million people "a step away from famine" in Yemen

The coalition accuses Iran of sending weapons to its Houthi allies through Yemen’s main port, Hodeidah, a charge Iran denies. The Hodeidah port is where most aid enters from.

The United Nations has listed Yemen as the world's number one humanitarian crisis, with 17 million people in need of food, eight and a half million of whom are at risk of famine now. 

More than 2,000 Yemenis have died in a cholera outbreak now affecting nearly one million people.

Saudi Arabia and its allies intervened in neighbouring Yemen in March 2015 to push back the rebels who control the capital Sanaa, in an attempt to restore the government of Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi to power.

But the military intervention, which has triggered widespread criticism from the international community, has left more than 10,000 people, most of which civilians, dead.

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday took the rare step of publicly demanding that ally Saudi Arabia immediately allow vital humanitarian supplies to reach Yemen.

Trump, while not asking for an end to Saudi-led bombing of Yemen, said in a statement that his aides would ask the Saudis to "completely allow food, fuel, water and medicine to reach the Yemeni people, who desperately need it."

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