The humanitarian crisis in war-torn Yemen, which is also in the midst of a cholera epidemic, is “an absolutely shame on humanity”, the head of an anti-poverty NGO said on Saturday.
Wolfgang Jamann, from CARE International, spoke out after a five-day visit to the impoverished Arabian Peninsula nation, where thousands have died from cholera since an outbreak in April.
He also warned that parts of the country were “one step away from famine” due to a combination of conflict and lack of clean water.
Speaking at a news conference, he urged the international community to end Yemen’s suffering, adding: “We are now in the 21st century and the current situation is an absolute shame on humanity.
"Thousands of civilians have died since the start of the conflict and millions more have been displaced inside the country.
"60 per cent of the country is food insecure and over half the population is unable (to access) safe drinking water. Many areas in Yemen are just one step away from a famine situation.”
The conflict in Yemen has escalated dramatically since March 2015, when Saudi-led forces launched a military operation in support of the government against the Iran-backed Huthi rebels.
More than 8,000 people - mostly civilians - have died as a result of the war in Yemen since the coalition intervened, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
More than 44,500 people are estimated to have been wounded.
The situation in the country of some 27 million has been worsened by a massive outbreak of the bacterial infection cholera - now the biggest of its kind in the world.
On Friday, the WHO said the number of suspected cholera infections in Yemen had risen to nearly 370,000, as of July 19.
It said 1,828 people have died in the outbreak since it erupted in late April.