Jan Egeland, leader of the Norwegian Refugee Council, said he was shocked by what he called a “man-made famine” in Yemen after spending time talking to people who live there.
“The world is letting some 7 million men, women and children slowly but surely be engulfed by unprecedented famine,” Egeland said. “It is not a drought that is at fault. This preventable catastrophe is man-made from A to Z.”
Egeland, who recently returned from a five-day trip to Yemen, called the current lack of food in the country a “gigantic failure of international diplomacy.”
According to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report, around 17 million people — or about 60 percent of Yemen’s population — are food insecure. Around 7 million don’t know where their next meal will come from.
“This month, humanitarian efforts led by the World Food Program can only afford to feed 3 of the 7 million Yemenis on the brink of famine,” Egeland said.
Egeland said he met teachers, health professionals and other civil servants who hadn’t received a pay check in eight months.
The United Nations calls Yemen the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, noting that this war-torn, impoverished country also is one of the world’s most forgotten crises.
According to U.N. estimates, at least 10,000 people have been killed, countless thousands injured, and more than 3 million forced from their homes during the country’s two-year-long civil war. The war has devastated Yemen’s economy, and damaged or destroyed nearly 300 health facilities.