UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- A United Nations (UN) official warned on Wednesday that there will be a devastating famine in Yemen unless the current air, sea and land blockade imposed by the Saudi-led coalition is lifted.
"It will be the largest famine the world hasn't seen for many decades, with millions of victims," Mark Lowcock, UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, told reporters after he briefed the Security Council on the humanitarian situation in Yemen.
Lowcock asked for five steps to avert the imminent humanitarian tragedy, including a resumption of flights by the UN and partners to Yemeni cities Sanaa and Aden, assurances that the air services will not be disrupted, and an agreement on the pre-positioning of the World Food Program vessel in the waters off Aden and assurances that its functions will not be disrupted.
The rest of the steps are a resumption of humanitarian and commercial access to all seaports of Yemen, especially for essential supplies, and a scaling back of interference with all vessels that have passed UN inspection so that they can proceed to ports in Yemen as rapidly as possible.
The humanitarian chief was asked to brief the Security Council, which held a closed-door meeting over Yemen at the request of the Swedish Mission to the UN.
Yemen has been in civil war since 2015, pitting Sanaa-based Houthi forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh against forces of the incumbent government of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, based in Aden. A Saudi-led coalition uses airstrikes to restore the Hadi government.