Yemeni people gather in front of a window of a charity center to receive food aid in Sanaa, Yemen, on Dec. 9, 2018. An estimated 85,000 children under the age of five may have died from extreme hunger between April 2015 and October 2018, according to the latest data released by Save the Children, an international organization for children's rights. (Xinhua/Mohammed Mohammed)
by Mohamed al-Azaki
SANAA, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- As a 55-year-old father who cannot secure next meal for his eight starving children, Ahmed al-Sharafi doesn't complain.
"There is always a glimmer of hope," he told Xinhua.
Unlike millions of starving Yemenis, al-Sharafi is lucky as a charity bakery is few meters away from his house in a popular quarter east of the capital Sanaa.
"We were very comfortable before the war erupted ... but today I cannot afford a bottle of yogurt because it's too expensive," al-Sharafi said.
Al-Sharafi receives 15 pieces of small-and-round bread each morning from the charity bakery to feed his hungry children. The allocated bread is not enough for one meal.
Around 750 families in Noqum quarter receive a daily support of bread, according to those who fund the bakery.
Asked if his family has lunch or dinner, al-Sharafi lowered his head.
The civil war erupted between the internationally-recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and armed Houthi rebels.
The Houthis moved in thousands of fighters and stormed the capital Sanaa in September 2014, forcing Hadi and his government into exile.
The U.S.-backed Saudi Arabia leading a military coalition from several Arab countries intervened in the Yemeni conflict in March 2015 to reinstate Hadi to power and roll back the rebels' gains who seized control over much of the country's north, including the capital Sanaa and Hodeidah port city.
Nearly four years of devastating civil war have killed more than 10,000 people, mostly civilians, displaced 3 million others and the all-out blockade and cut of salaries pushed the whole country to the brink of famine, according to the UN aid agencies.
An estimated 85,000 children under the age of five may have died from extreme hunger between April 2015 and October 2018, according to the latest data released by Save the Children, an international organization for children's rights.
"For every child killed by bombs and bullets, dozens are starving to death and it's entirely preventable," Save the Children's country director in Yemen, Tamer Kirolos, said here in a press conference last month.
"In the past few weeks, there have been hundreds of airstrikes in and around Hodeidah, endangering the lives of an estimated 150,000 children still trapped in the city," Kirolos said.
Save the Children is calling for an immediate end to the fighting, Kirolos added.
UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock told the UN Security Council last month that "about 14 million Yemeni people, half of the country's population, are facing pre-famine conditions, meaning they are entirely reliant on external aid for survival."
On Dec. 6, the Yemeni parties started peace talks sponsored by the United Nations in Sweden to end the war. Two previous peace efforts failed to result in any political compromise.
The rival negotiators agreed on Saturday to exchange files of war prisoners as debates are underway over the re-opening of Sanaa airport and withdrawing of rival fighters from the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, according to statements from both the government and Houthi side.
Al-Sharafi, the father and a resident of Sanaa, said he hopes the war to end very soon.
"We want all negotiating parties in Sweden to reach a final and complete solution to end the war ... for the sake of all Yemeni people," he said.