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Save the Children warns 5 million children at risk of famine in Yemen


By Euan McKirdy, CNN

Updated Sep 19, 2018

(CNN) - British charity Save the Children has warned that five million children are at risk of famine in Yemen as the Saudi-led coalition carries out a major offensive on a strategic port in the country.

On Tuesday, the coalition launched a campaign to recapture the rebel Houthi-held port of Hodeida, according to state media in the United Arab Emirates, a partner in the coalition.

Save the Children has said that damage to the port or its temporary closure would increase food and fuel costs, putting one million more children at risk of famine.

"Even the smallest disruption to food, fuel and aid supplies through its vital port could mean death for hundreds of thousands of malnourished children unable to get the food they need to stay alive," said Tamer Kirolos, Save the Children's country director for Yemen.

"It could drive up the price of fuel -- and as a result transport -- to such an extent that families can't even afford to take their sick children to hospital."

The United Nations has said an assault on the port city could, in the worst scenario, could kill up to 250,000 people. Around 70% of humanitarian aid passes through the Red Sea port.

The military offensive in the province started in June but fighting stalled, especially in Hodeidah, as the UN tried to bring warring parties to the negotiating table.

The latest attempt was in Geneva earlier this month but the Houthis didn't travel as all sides blamed each other for obstructing the peace talks.

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