In an urgent warning issued to the world on Wednesday, the charity group Save the Children says the ongoing and U.S.-backed assault by the Saudi-led coalition on the poverty-stricken country of Yemen is threatening to provoke a famine that could risk the lives of more than 5 million children.
"This war risks killing an entire generation of Yemen's children who face multiple threats, from bombs to hunger to preventable diseases like cholera," Helle Thorning-Schmidt, CEO of Save the Children International, declared in a statement.
The group said the total number of children in Yemen at risk of famine is now 5.2 million and that currently more than two-thirds of the country's population does not know where their next meal is coming from.
With the Saudi-led coalition—which receives both political and military backing from the Trump administration and the Pentagon—hampering the flow of vital supplies into the country by attacking the port city of Hodeidah, "a vital lifeline for goods and aid for 80 percent of Yemen’s population," Save the Children says the fighting threatens the lives of millions across across the country.
"What happens in Hodeidah has a direct impact on children and families right across Yemen," said Thorning-Schmidt. "Even the smallest disruption to food, fuel and aid supplies through its vital port could mean death for hundreds of thousands of malnourished children unable to get the food they need to stay alive. It could drive up the price of fuel – and as a result transport – to such an extent that families can’t even afford to take their sick children to hospital."
A full closure of the port, the group warned, "would put the lives of hundreds of thousands of children in immediate danger while pushing millions more into famine" and "could result in one of the worst hunger crises in living history."
Writing for Lobelog on Wednesday, foreign policy analyst William Hartung argues that while the U.S. goverment is directly complicit in the violence and resulting humanitarian crisis in Yemen, members of Congress have it within their country to help end the suffering in the country.
"The best way to bring the suffering in Yemen to an end is for Congress to reassert its war powers and end U.S. refueling of Saudi aircraft and other support for this brutal war," argues Hartung, "and to block a proposed sale of guided bombs to Saudi Arabia and the UAE scheduled to be formally notified to Congress later this year."