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  1. ITV Report

'Yemen months away from running out of food', Oxfam warns

A nurse feeds a malnourished child at a treatment centre in Yemen. Credit: Reuters/Naif Rahma

Yemen will run out of food within months and its people are "at risk of catastrophic hunger", according to international charity Oxfam.

Food imports to the war-ravaged country are at an all time low, Oxfam has said, and by April 2017 it estimates that there will be no food left to feed millions of vulnerable people including children.

After 20 months of conflict, malnutrition in Yemen is on the increase, with more than 14 million people - half the country’s population - categorised as ‘food insecure’ according to the United Nations.

The World Food Programme has warned that, that figure may soon rise to 21 million people.

Yemen is being slowly starved to death. First there were restrictions on imports - including much need food - when this was partially eased the cranes in the ports were bombed, then the warehouses, then the roads and the bridges. This is not by accident - it is systematic.

The country’s economy, its institutions, its ability to feed and care for its people are all on the brink of collapse.

– Mark Goldring, Oxfam GB Chief Executive
Hospital wards in parts of Yemen are full of malnourished children. Credit: ITV News

Even before the conflict started, nearly 90 per cent of Yemen’s food had to be imported.

In August, the amount of food being brought in fell below half the level needed to feed the country’s people and remained below that ever since, Oxfam said.

The charity is calling on rich countries to increase support to the UN aid effort which is currently only 58 per cent funded and short of over $686 million (£540m).

It also wants the Saudi-led coalition to lift shipping restrictions to allow food and other vital imports to increase, and on all parties to allow food to move freely around the country and agree a meaningful ceasefire and restart peace talks.

The war in Yemen, between a Saudi-led coalition of Gulf countries and the government against the Houthis, has killed and injured over 11,000 civilians, forced more than three million people to flee their homes and brought the economy to near collapse.