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Yemen enters 3rd year of war, as famine looms

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-03-28 17:13

"Starving on the roads is much better than collapsing from hunger at home... Our life is not politics," said 18-year-old school girl Nada as she stands up closely in front of a popular restaurant to beg for money or win a remnant meal.

"We are at a rented small home, and since January of this year, we have nothing left to sell in order to pay rent or feed my family," she said.

Her brother, 22, leaves the house at dawn everyday to walk tens of kilometers searching for recyclable items among garbage dumps in the streets to be sold to support his family.

The father of Nada and Omar is a soldier, who went months ago to frontlines to fight the coalition forces.

Nada and Omar are taking care of their mother and five other little sisters. Nada and Omar are one struggle story of at least 10 million Yemeni children across the war-torn Arab country.

Yousif Ali, 13, is another tragic story in downtown the capital, Sanaa. This boy stands up everyday in the street near his mom's one-room rented home.

Yousif escaped along with his widow mother in the far northern border province of Saada in 2016.

Yousif stands up in the street to ask walking people to visit his sick mom in the one-room house nearby. He refused to accept taking money or food until the one who decides to help firstly visits his mom.

"People are dying and no one cares," said Najat Nor al-Deen, a female journalist who paid food and purchased medicine for Yousif' mom.

Houthis have been controlling north Yemen, including the capital Sanaa, while Hadi's government shares rule on the south with tribes and separatist southern movement, backed by troops from Saudi-led Arab coalition.

On March 26, 2015, Saudi Arabia led mostly Arab military coalition to reinstate Hadi to power and recapture Sanaa from Houthis. The move has not yielded much gains on the ground amid strong resistance from Houthi fighters and Saleh's loyal forces.

It now turns into a bloody war of economy to put more pressure on Houthis to surrender.

The Saudi-led coalition has tightened commercial blockade on the country's solo port city of Hodeidah to put more pressure on Houthi and Saleh.

Most of the approximately 26 million population live in northern territories, which are under Houthi control.

The United Nations estimated that as of March 2017, there are approximately 18.8 million Yemeni people in need of humanitarian support and 10.3 million people in dire need of humanitarian assistance.

The UN refugee agency UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) jointly released a report on the country's displacement crisis, saying that shortages of food and malnutrition are widespread.

The World Food Programme estimated that 60 percent of Yemenis, or 17 million people, are in "emergency food crisis," 20 percent more than in June.

It said in a statement last week that the governorates of Taiz and Hodeidah along the Red Sea risked slipping into famine if they did not receive more aid. Both have long traditions as food-producing regions.

 

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