Three-year-old Abdo Saleh lay on a cot, unable to walk or speak, his tiny body broken by hunger. His face was skeletal, his arms and legs thin as twigs. He weighed 10 pounds.
A few miles away, markets were stocked with all kinds of food. But prices have risen so sharply that his parents cannot afford the milk, fruits and vegetables that are in abundance. “Sometimes, we go two days without food,” said his father, Saleh Abdo Ahmed, sadly squeezing his son’s raisin-size toes.
After four years of conflict, more than 20 million Yemenis — roughly two-thirds of the population — don’t have enough to eat. In most cases, it’s not because food is completely unavailable but because it’s unaffordable, priced out of reach by import restrictions, soaring transport costs due to fuel scarcity, a collapsing currency and other man-made supply disruptions.
Economic measures, largely imposed by a Saudi-led military coalition backed by the United States, have helped produce what the United Nations considers the world’s most severe humanitarian catastrophe.
And over the past year, the hunger crisis has worsened dramatically, with a 60 percent increase in the number of districts now considered to face emergency conditions, according to an analysis released this month by a consortium of aid agencies. More than half now fall in this category. [Continue reading…]