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UN report says that 8.4 million people in war-torn Yemen are dependent on food assistance

Displaced Yemeni children from Hodeida carry water containers as they walk to a nearby well to fill them Monday at a make-shift camp in a village in the northern district of Abs in Hajjah province. A U.N. report said that 8.4 million people in Yemen are dependent on food assistance. (ESSA AHMED/AFP/Getty Images)

A United Nations report on Tuesday said that 8.4 million people in war-torn Yemen are dependent on food assistance and 75 percent of the population needs some sort of aid.

Wait...what war in Yemen?

Yemen has been in a state of civil war since 2014. The war has been prolonged by outside actors propping up each side. On one side, the U.S. has supported a coalition led by Saudi Arabia that has been propping up the Yemeni government. On the other, Iran has been aiding the Houthi rebels.

The Saudi coalition has been criticized for hitting civilian targets with airstrikes in an attempt to end the conflict. According to a U.N. report from August, some of these targets have included schools, funerals, markets, medical facilities, and weddings.

Another U.N. report, reported by the BBC on Oct. 15, said that Yemen could be facing the “worst famine in 100 years.

How bad is it?

The new report, which was submitted on Tuesday to the U.N. Security Council by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said that 22 million of Yemen's 28 million inhabitants needed at least some assistance. Three million people in that country are reportedly malnourished.

According to the report, "Hunger and food insecurity have increased 70 percent over pre-crisis levels, and severe acute malnutrition among children has increased by a staggering 150 percent."

According to the Washington Post, Mark Lowcock, the United Nations under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, said in the report that he estimated that “3.5 million to 4 million more people could become severely food insecure in the months ahead.”

According to a statement on Oct. 18 from UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore, "Families who can no longer afford basic food items could soon join the 18.5 million people who are already food insecure – a number projected to rise by 3.5 million, including nearly 1.8 million children."

These conditions, devastating in their own right, are compounded by the situation in Hudaydah where violence threatens to kill children and choke off an essential supply chain of fuel and humanitarian aid that sustains 28 million Yemenis.

If the port is attacked, damaged, or blocked, an estimated 4 million more children will become food insecure throughout the country.

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