Feb. 15, 2019 -- The United Nations and its humanitarian partners on Thursday released a needs assessment for Yemen, reporting nearly 24 million people in need of "some form of humanitarian or protection assistance," a UN spokesman said.
"The crisis remains the worst in the world with an estimated 80 percent of the population -- that's nearly 24 million people -- in need of some form of humanitarian or protection assistance, including 14.3 million people who are in acute need," said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.
"The number of acute need people is now 27 percent higher than it was last year," he told reporters at a regular briefing, in announcing a pledging conference sponsored by Sweden, Switzerland and the world organization set for Feb. 26.
"More than 20 million people across the country are food insecure, half of them with extreme levels of hunger," Dujarric said. "For the first time we have confirmed pockets of catastrophic hunger, with 238,000 people affected in some locations."
The United Nations and its humanitarian partners have been warning for several weeks that the Arab country is on the brink of famine, a result of a nearly four-year-old civil war.
"Some 3.2 million people require treatment for acute malnutrition, 2 million under 5 (years of age) and more than 1 million pregnant and lactating women, for a total of 17.8 million people who lack access to safe water and sanitation," he said. "Almost 20 million people lack access to adequate health care."
An estimated 3.3 million people remain displaced in Yemen, up from 2.2 million last year, and this includes 685,000 people who fled fighting in Hodeidah and on the west coast from June onward, the spokesman said.
Hodeidah is a key west coast port city and home to the Red Sea Mills, housing enough grain to feed millions of people for a month, but presently inaccessible to aid workers, the UN has said.
Negotiations between government and rebel representatives were suspended last week for leadership consideration of a tentative accord on demilitarizing the port to allow access to humanitarian aid and the distribution of it to those in need.