UN says Millions of people in Yemen are set to die of famine

- UN says Millions of people in Yemen are set to die of famine.

- Calls for the coalition blockade to be lifted to allow aid pass through.

- Researchers want world leaders to do more rather than express their concerns in words.
The United Nations has warned that millions of people in war torn Yemen will die as it prepares to face
the world's worst famine crisis in decades unless the current blockade set by the Saudi-led military coalition is lifted.

After briefing the UN Security Council on Wednesday, Mark Lowcock, the UN's humanitarian chief, said the move will worsen a "catastrophic" humanitarian crisis that has pushed millions to the brink of famine and has caused a mass cholera epidemic.

"I have told the Council that unless those measures are lifted ... there will be a famine in Yemen," Lowcock, who visited Yemen late in October, told reporters on Wednesday.

"It will not be like the famine that we saw in South Sudan earlier in the year, where tens of thousands of people were affected. It will not be like the famine which cost 250,000 people their lives in Somalia in 2011," he added.

"It will be the largest famine the world has seen in many decades, with millions of victims."

Kristine Beckerle, Yemen researcher at Human Rights Watch, said it was "far past time" the members of the UN Security Council "made it very clear" to Yemen's warring sides that there will be "concrete consequences" in cases of obstruction to humanitarian assistance.

"The Council already has a mechanism for sanctioning people in Yemen who are committing gross violations," she told Al Jazeera.

Beckerle said government officials in countries such as the US, UK and France are typically "issuing broad recitations of concern", without, however, acting upon it.

"It's not enough for the US or the UK to say we are worried about famine in Yemen.

"At this point, it's up to the Security Council members, and particularly those allied with Saudi Arabia, to be using all the leverage at their disposal to be pushing these people to actually make changes to the ways in which they are fighting this war and certainly for them to stop impending access to aid."

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