World’s largest famine in decades looming for Yemen, UN warns


A senior United Nations official has warned that Yemen could be facing the world's largest famine in decades "with millions of victims" if aid deliveries are not continued.

UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, Mark Lowcock, has pleaded with the Saudi-led coalition to lift the siege currently placed on the country.

Air, land and sea routes into Yemen have been shut by the coalition after a missile was fired by Houthi rebels at  Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia has defended the blockade, saying it was necessary to prevent Iran from sending weapons to the rebels.

Iran has, however, denied arming the rebels.

After briefing the UN Security Council behind closed doors, Lowcock reported on Wednesday: "I have told the council that unless those measures are lifted… there will be a famine in Yemen."

"It will be the largest famine the world has seen for many decades with millions of victims," he warned.

The Red Cross shipment of chlorine tablets, which aids the fight against a cholera epidemic, has also been blocked.

According to the UN, seven million Yemenis are on the verge of famine.