Famine pushes war-weary Yemenis to commit suicide


The almost three-year conflict in impoverished Yemen has devastated the country and left millions of people on the verge of starvation.

There were several reports of Yemenis committing suicide to escape their worsening living conditions in the war-torn country.

Early this month, a mother and her two daughters had committed suicide in the central Ibb province over their economic situation.

"The worsening economic condition had forced the mother to kill herself and her two children after her husband dumped the family," local relief worker Mustafa Ziadi told Anadolu Agency.

A week before this incident, a police officer killed himself after his salary was suspended as a result of the ongoing conflict in the country.

Yemen -- the poorest among Arab nations -- fell into civil war in 2014 after Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital Sanaa.

The conflict escalated when Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a massive air campaign in 2015 to reverse Houthi military gains and shore up the Saudi-backed Yemeni government.

According to the WFP, 17 million Yemenis in the 27-million-strong country are food insecure -- with almost 7 million on the verge of famine.

A particularly high number of people are starving in the regions of Saada, Al Hudaydah, Taiz, Dhale and Al Jawf.

Omran Aqel, 42, a fisherman, had to leave the coastal city of Mokha to Sanaa in search for work.

"I left no stone unturned in search for work, but to no avail," Aqel told Anadolu Agency.

"I sold out my sheep to bring food to my children and to go to Sanaa to search for work," the Yemeni father said.

According to the WHO, there are 18.8 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in Yemen, with 10.3 million as having "acute" or immediate needs.

In mid-April, Magne Barth, the head of the delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross, warned that Yemen may be completely out of food by August.

"The aid is dwindling while the number of displaced Yemenis is on the rise," Ahmed al-Subaibi, a spokesman for a humanitarian aid coalition in Taiz, said.

He cited that 100,000 food packages had been distributed in Taiz by Saudi Arabia's King Salman Humanitarian Aid Relief Center last year.

"This year, no single package has been distributed," he lamented.

"Our people hope to see humanitarian aid is increasing in the city," he said.

*Ramez AlBainy contributed to this report from Ankara

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