Yemen is 'the biggest humanitarian disaster in the world'

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Yemen has little agricultural land. How does this affect the supply situation?

It has dramatic consequences. Yemen depends on imports for 90 percent of its food. And, if the main ports are not fully accessible and the unloading of ships is hampered by fighting, not enough food can enter the country.

Read more:Estimated 85,000 child malnutrition deaths in wartorn Yemen

What role does the international community have in resolving the conflict? Is the magnitude of the catastrophe not recognized?

It is rather a problem of willingness. The United Nations has repeatedly employed drastic language to emphasize that Yemen is currently the biggest humanitarian disaster in the world. Recently the photo of the emaciated girl in The New York Times went around the world. Today, a current report was published stating that 65,000 people in the country are so acutely starving that the criteria for famine have been met.

There are an inconceivable 20 million people on the brink of starvation. One is left wondering what the world is waiting for — and how bad it needs to get in order to increase the pressure. Yemenis are not fleeing to Europe, and most of the population are seeking security in their own country. That could explain the lack of interest to some extent; perhaps we have to acknowledge that.

Should the pressure on Saudi Arabia be increased? And what would that entail?

This is not about individual actors: The situation in Yemen is complex and the longer the conflict lasts, the more fragmented the fronts become. Therefore, we have to act quickly, and consistently. Yemen needs an inclusive and comprehensive peace process that involves everyone; otherwise, an agreement — no matter how difficult to reach — will not hold. In order to reunite a population after such a conflict, everyone must be at the table, starting with women, who make up half of the population and must be represented.

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