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Famine Stalks Yemen

IRIN Photos/Flickr: Mazrak camp in the tough mountainous scrublands of Yemen's north-west border with Saudi Arabia is now home to more than 10,000 people displaced by the escalating war between the government and rebels from the Huthi clan.

The U.N. is warning that millions of Yemeni civilians are threatened by famine:

The director of U.N. humanitarian operations warned Tuesday that 7.6 million people in conflict-torn Yemen face severe food shortages and are ”one step” from famine.

John Ging, who just returned from Yemen, told a news conference that there has been ”a shocking fall off” in support from the donor community over the last few months for the millions of Yemenis who need food, clean water and basic health care.

The Saudi-led blockade is largely responsible for creating these horrible conditions, but things are made worse for Yemen’s civilian population thanks to the lackluster, tardy response from outside governments to requests for funding relief efforts. The Saudis’ coalition is starving the country to death, and for the most part the response from the rest of the world has been to shrug or offer woefully inadequate assistance. The war on Yemen has mostly been overlooked by the outside world, and that neglect is having dire consequences for millions of people cut off from the outside world by the Saudis and their allies.

Yemen’s humanitarian crisis has been classified by the U.N. as one of the worst in the world, and I don’t think it would be an exaggeration at this point to say that it is the very worst crisis anywhere. A famine should be an avoidable disaster nowadays, which should remind us that this crisis is almost entirely man-made. What makes this crisis especially obscene is that the near-famine conditions in Yemen are the result of the policy being pursued by the Saudis and their allies with U.S. and British support. “Reassuring” despots means supporting them as they starve millions of people as part of their appalling and unnecessary war.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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