UN agency says to cut food aid to Yemen for want of funds

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Eighty percent of war-torn Yemen's population of around 30 million is dependent on international aid (AFP/AHMAD AL-BASHA)

The World Food Programme said Wednesday it was "forced" to cut aid to Yemen due to lack of funds, and warned of a surge in hunger in the war-torn country.

"From January, eight million will receive a reduced food ration, while five million at immediate risk of slipping into famine conditions will remain on a full ration," the UN agency said in a statement, adding that it was "running out of funds".

Yemen has been devastated by a civil war between the Saudi-backed government and Iran-backed Huthi rebels since 2014, and millions of civilians are on the brink of famine.

The fighting has killed tens of thousands, displaced millions and left some 80 percent of Yemenis dependent on aid.

"Every time we reduce the amount of food, we know that more people who are already hungry and food insecure will join the ranks of the millions who are starving," said WFP Middle East and North Africa director Corinne Fleischer, according to the statement.

"But desperate times call for desperate measures and we have to stretch our limited resources and prioritise, focusing on people who are in the most critical state."

WFP said that it needs $813 million to continue to help the most vulnerable in Yemen through May and $1.97 billion during 2022 to continue to deliver food assistance to families on the brink of famine.

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