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Report: 85,000 children under the age of 5 have died from starvation during war in Yemen

A Yemeni woman holds a child suffering from malnutrition as they sit on a bed on Wednesday at a treatment center in a hospital in the third city of Taez. As many as 85,000 infants under the age of 5 may have died from starvation or disease since 2015 in war-ravaged Yemen, humanitarian organization Save the Children said, basing its estimate on UN-compiled data. (AHMAD AL-BASHA/AFP/Getty Images)

Humanitarian group Save the Children reported last week that about 85,000 children under the age of 5 have died from starvation or disease in Yemen since April 2015. The country has been engaged in a civil war since 2014.

What are the details?

The analysis states that conservative methods were used in discovering an estimated 84,701 young children have died from Severe Acute Malnutrition since the war escalated.

Recent numbers from the United Nations estimate that 14 million people — which is half the population of Yemen — could soon be entirely reliant on outside food assistance to the country.

Pressure is mounting on the U.S. to withdraw its support of the Saudi-led coalition in its war against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen and to intervene in the conflict.

On Monday, a joint statement issued by five humanitarian groups said that, if the U.S. does not do more to stop the violence, Washington deserves partial blame for the ongoing crisis. The release signed by the heads of Save the Children, International Rescue Committee, Oxfam America, CARE US, and the Norwegian Refugee Council stated:

We are pleading with the United States to back up its recent call for a cessation of hostilities with genuine diplomatic pressure, and to halt all military support for the Saudi/UAE coalition in Yemen in order to save millions of lives. It pains us to write these words, but we cannot escape the truth: if the U.S. does not cease its military support for the Saudi/UAE coalition, it too, will bear responsibility for what may be the largest famine in decades.

What was the Senate response?

The U.S. Senate has been reluctant to withdraw its support from Saudi Arabia in the past, but the CIA's recent conclusion that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi has drawn further scrutiny of the kingdom from senators.

Speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) told host Chuck Todd that Saudi Arabia "is not an ally that deserves this kind of military intervention, especially because there's been no connection between the safety of the American people and our involvement in this war."

"I believe this is an opportunity for the Congress to weigh in and say, 'Let's halt our efforts in Yemen,'" he added.

Lee is co-sponsoring a resolution with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) that would withdraw U.S. support for the war in Yemen.

"I think we now have a chance to get a majority of the United States Senate" on board with the plan, Sanders told CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday.

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