LONDON - Escalating violence in Yemen has pushed half of the population into hunger and the situation is likely to deteriorate further, the United Nations said as it called for a blockade on imports of fuel, food and medicine to be lifted immediately.
Since fighting intensified at the end of March, the number of people going hungry has risen by 17 percent to 13 million people, including six million at risk of starvation, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP).
Nineteen out of the 22 governorates in the Arabian peninsula's poorest country are affected by the food crisis, the UN agencies said.
"Conflict and the lack of food and fuel in the markets are pushing Yemen towards a complete breakdown in food security and health ... it is sliding into catastrophe," the FAO and WFP said in a joint statement on Wednesday.
"Yemen desperately needs a pause in fighting, increased access and funding for humanitarian aid, and an immediate large-scale resumption of commercial imports."