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International Report: Millions of Yemenis to Starve in 2017 | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A boy walks past the a house damaged by an airstrike in Yemen’s capital Sanaa, September 12, 2015. REUTERS/Mohamed al-Sayaghi

London- War-ravaged Yemen will be seeing an additional 2.5 million people go without enough food to eat in 2017, raising the count to a preposterous 16 million Yemenis facing starvation. The increase will evidently take place should the current downward spiral continue, the Norwegian Refugee Council warned today.

The past year has seen widespread destruction and overall deterioration of conditions, with more than 14 million facing dreadful hunger.

Staple food is now 20 per cent more expensive than before the conflict started last year.

Forecasts for 2017 show that, if the situation does not change, an extra 2.5 million people will be left without enough to eat. At least 60 per cent of the entire population will struggle to put food on the table, the council said in a report issued on December 13.

“Unless the conflict is ended and the deep economic crisis reversed, the new year will see an entire nation slide further into a black hole of despair,” said NRC Secretary General Jan Egeland. “The figures for 2016 are shocking, and there is a risk that further deterioration of the situation in 2017 will result in famine across Yemen. We must put an end to this man-made disaster that shames us all.”

Displacement in Yemen snowballed massively since the start of the conflict. An estimated 4.5 million people in Yemen currently require shelter support. By the end of 2016, almost 2.2 million people remain displaced across the country; more than 90 per cent of them have been displaced for more than 10 months.

Many displaced Yemenis are living in public buildings or makeshift camps, many without access to basic facilities such as toilets or washrooms.

Economic collapse in Yemen is imminent if nothing is done to support the failing banking system.

Once the banking system continues its downward spiral, more and more civil servants will not to be paid and imports that have previously been guaranteed by the Central Bank of Yemen – such as rice and wheat – will come to a halt.

Restrictions on imports mean that Yemenis are not getting the commercial goods that they need at prices they can afford.

“With only two weeks to go before the year’s end, the 2016 Yemen humanitarian response has only received half the funding it needed,” Egeland said. “If we see the same trend in 2017, then it will be an impossible job to reach all the Yemenis in need. Humanitarians have shown that, despite challenges on the ground, we can respond rapidly to need on the ground; but the financial commitments haven’t matched the response.”

Since October 2016, at least 11,332 civilian casualties had been reported by community-level human rights monitors since the escalation of the conflict, including 4,125 deaths and 7,207 injuries. An estimated 11.3 million people require protection, gender-based violence and child protection assistance.