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Yemen's displaced live on bread crumbs, leaves

Updated : 2018-11-05 08:07:32

Millions of Yemenis lost everything — homes, jobs, loved ones — in nearly four years of civil war. The conflict has pushed the country of 29 million people to the brink of famine. At least 8 million have no food other than what aid agencies provide.

The figure is likely to rise to 11.5 million as more people become unable to afford food because the worsening economic crisis caused by the war, UN agencies warn. The currency is crumbling in value, sending prices soaring.

The humanitarian disaster has come as the U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition since 2015 has waged a relentless campaign of airstrikes and imposed a blockade, aiming to uproot Shiite rebels known as Houthis, who took over northern and central Yemen.

Besides airstrikes, northern Yemen has also seen heavy barrages back and forth across the border with Saudi Arabia as Saudi forces battle rebels.

Yahia Hussein has already lost a 5-month-old son who wasted away and died as they fled their village in northern Yemen. Now living in a camp for the displaced, he is running out of ways to feed his other four children.

Jobless, he has no way to afford food, and he says he hasn't received international aid for several months. His wife gives their children moldy bread crumbs mixed with water and salt. Some days she feeds them a paste made of boiled leaves from a vine called "halas."

In this Oct. 1, 2018, photo, a severely malnourished boy rests on a hospital bed at the Aslam Health Center, Hajjah, Yemen. Malnutrition, cholera, and other epidemic diseases like diphtheria ravaged through the displaced and the impoverished communities. The fighting in Hodeida, the Red Sea port seen as the lifeline of northern Yemen where 70 percent of the population lives, threaten to worsen the world's largest humanitarian crisis. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this Oct. 1, 2018, photo, a severely malnourished boy rests on a hospital bed at the Aslam Health Center, Hajjah, Yemen. Malnutrition, cholera, and other epidemic diseases like diphtheria ravaged through the displaced and the impoverished communities. The fighting in Hodeida, the Red Sea port seen as the lifeline of northern Yemen where 70 percent of the population lives, threaten to worsen the world's largest humanitarian crisis. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this Oct. 1, 2018, photo, a woman holds a malnourished boy at the Aslam Health Center, in Hajjah, Yemen. The UN agencies are warning that at least 3.5 million others might slip into the pre-famine stage. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this Oct. 1, 2018, photo, a woman holds a malnourished boy at the Aslam Health Center, in Hajjah, Yemen. The UN agencies are warning that at least 3.5 million others might slip into the pre-famine stage. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this Oct. 1, 2018, photo, a malnourished boy sits on a hospital bed at the Aslam Health Center, Hajjah, Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this Oct. 1, 2018, photo, a malnourished boy sits on a hospital bed at the Aslam Health Center, Hajjah, Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this Oct. 1, 2018, photo, a severely malnourished boy rests on a hospital bed at the Aslam Health Center, Hajjah, Yemen. The fighting in Hodeida, the Red Sea port seen as the lifeline of northern Yemen where 70 percent of the population lives, threaten to worsen the world's largest humanitarian crisis. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this Oct. 1, 2018, photo, a severely malnourished boy rests on a hospital bed at the Aslam Health Center, Hajjah, Yemen. The fighting in Hodeida, the Red Sea port seen as the lifeline of northern Yemen where 70 percent of the population lives, threaten to worsen the world's largest humanitarian crisis. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this Oct. 1, 2018, photo, a doctor measures the arm of malnourished girl at the Aslam Health Center, Hajjah, Yemen. The UN agencies are warning that at least 3.5 million others might slip into the pre-famine stage. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this Oct. 1, 2018, photo, a doctor measures the arm of malnourished girl at the Aslam Health Center, Hajjah, Yemen. The UN agencies are warning that at least 3.5 million others might slip into the pre-famine stage. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this Oct. 1, 2018, photo, Yahia Hussein feeds his children moldy bread in their shelter, in Aslam, Hajjah, Yemen. In a plastic washtub, Hussein's wife collects hard bread crumbs even those covered with mold, then mix with water, add salt, and give to her four children. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this Oct. 1, 2018, photo, Yahia Hussein feeds his children moldy bread in their shelter, in Aslam, Hajjah, Yemen. In a plastic washtub, Hussein's wife collects hard bread crumbs even those covered with mold, then mix with water, add salt, and give to her four children. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this Oct. 1, 2018, photo, a man holds Halas before cooking for his children, a climbing vine of green leaves, in Aslam, Hajjah, Yemen. The leaves are made into green paste and used to be a traditional side dish, but at times of extreme poverty, it becomes the main meal. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this Oct. 1, 2018, photo, a man holds Halas before cooking for his children, a climbing vine of green leaves, in Aslam, Hajjah, Yemen. The leaves are made into green paste and used to be a traditional side dish, but at times of extreme poverty, it becomes the main meal. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this Oct. 1, 2018, photo, children sit in front of moldy bread in their shelter, in Aslam, Hajjah, Yemen. In a plastic washtub, the children's mother collects hard bread crumbs even those covered with mold, then mix with water, add salt, and give to her four children. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this Oct. 1, 2018, photo, children sit in front of moldy bread in their shelter, in Aslam, Hajjah, Yemen. In a plastic washtub, the children's mother collects hard bread crumbs even those covered with mold, then mix with water, add salt, and give to her four children. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this Oct. 1, 2018, photo, men cook Halas for their children, a climbing vine of green leaves, in Aslam, Hajjah, Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this Oct. 1, 2018, photo, men cook Halas for their children, a climbing vine of green leaves, in Aslam, Hajjah, Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this Oct. 1, 2018, photo, a man cooks Halas for his children in Aslam, Hajjah, Yemen. Nearly four years of conflict has pushed the 29 million Yemenis to the brink of famine. The United Nations aid agencies say that the strong majority depend on humanitarian aid for survival while eight million are one step from famine. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this Oct. 1, 2018, photo, a man cooks Halas for his children in Aslam, Hajjah, Yemen. Nearly four years of conflict has pushed the 29 million Yemenis to the brink of famine. The United Nations aid agencies say that the strong majority depend on humanitarian aid for survival while eight million are one step from famine. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this Oct. 1, 2018, photo, a man feeds children Halas in Aslam, Hajjah, Yemen. The leaves are made into green paste and used to be a traditional side dish, but at times of extreme poverty, it becomes the main meal. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this Oct. 1, 2018, photo, a man feeds children Halas in Aslam, Hajjah, Yemen. The leaves are made into green paste and used to be a traditional side dish, but at times of extreme poverty, it becomes the main meal. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this Oct. 1, 2018, photo, a man prepares Halas for his children in Aslam, Hajjah, Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this Oct. 1, 2018, photo, a man prepares Halas for his children in Aslam, Hajjah, Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this Oct. 1, 2018 photo, a man feeds his children Halas in Aslam, Hajjah, Yemen. The United Nations aid agencies say that that the strong majority depend on humanitarian aid for survival while eight million are one step from famine. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this Oct. 1, 2018 photo, a man feeds his children Halas in Aslam, Hajjah, Yemen. The United Nations aid agencies say that that the strong majority depend on humanitarian aid for survival while eight million are one step from famine. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
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