'Pockets of famine' already exist in Yemen, ITV News learns

April 10, 2017

Maram's father can't stop her crying as she battles severe malnutrition. Credit: ITV News

 

Parts of Yemen are now in famine, according to a United Nations World Food Programme report seen by ITV News.

 

Doctors and aid workers here confirmed the assessment and told us there is no doubt the official statistics are lagging behind the reality on the ground.

Famine is officially declared only when specific statistical conditions are met.

 

But in rural Yemen, now in it’s third year of war, accurate data collection is virtually impossible.

Nineteen million people in Yemen are relying on aid to reach them. Credit: ITV News

 

Many poor communities here are extremely remote, hours from the nearest tarmac road.

 

Half of Yemen’s medical facilities are out of action, many have been bombed.

 

Few people can afford to travel to hospital for medical care.

 

No written population records are kept, thousands of children do not attend school, the dead are buried quickly in accordance with local custom - and whole sections of Yemen’s population are beyond the authorities’ reach.

None of these boys has eaten more than one meal a day for weeks. Credit: ITV News

 

The report, by the United Nations World Food Programme, outlines the official hunger statistics (known as IPC’s) for March this year.

 

It states: "The situation continues to deteriorate by the day; together we are facing down the very real threat of a conflict-induced famine.

 

"Even though there is no statistical confirmation of famine in Yemen a number of UN agencies and partners concur that pockets of famine already exist."

No one is collecting data from remote villages in the region. Credit: ITV News

 

In one small and remote village visited by ITV News, 10 children have died this year from hunger or illness.

 

Village elder Mohammed Ali Ismail told us: "We always feel that we are alone because no help, nobody asks about us, no organisation visits us."

 

A senior humanitarian worker told us: "The IPCs are meaningless here."

Village elder Mohammed Ali Ismail. Credit: ITV News

Yemen is the largest humanitarian crisis in the world.

 

19m People rely on humanitarian aid in Yemen

 

7m Are facing the threat of famine

 

500,000Children under the age of five suffer acute malnutrition

 

Half a million children under the age of five suffer severe malnutrition. Credit: ITV News

 

An appeal by the Disasters Emergency Committee, which represents 13 leading British charities, raised £22 million.

 

The money is already in action, saving lives, but the sheer scale of this crisis is staggering.

 

The UN say their funding requirement in Yemen for the next 12 months is $1.2 billion.

 

So far they have raised just 10% of that.

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(c) 2017 ITV News

 

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