(UN) Yemen to become poorest country if war continues until 2022

(UN) Yemen to become poorest country if war continues until 2022

Yemen, mired in more than five years of armed conflict, will become the world's poorest country if the war continues until 2022, the United Nations warned in a report released Thursday.

Since the conflict broke out in 2014, "the war has increased poverty in Yemen from 47 percent of the population to 75 percent – as forecast by the end of 2019," the UNDP report said.

"If the fighting continues until 2022, Yemen will be ranked as the poorest country in the world, with 79% of the population living below the poverty line and 65% classified as very poor," the report said.

Since 2014, Yemen has been at war between Iranian-backed Houthi rebels and forces loyal to the government of recognized President Abdu Rabbo Mansour Hadi. Fighting escalated in March 2015 as Saudi Arabia intervened at the head of a military coalition in support of government forces.

The war has claimed some 10,000 lives and more than 56,000 wounded since 2015, according to the World Health Organization, but a number of humanitarian officials say the actual toll is much higher.

There are still 3.3 million displaced people, and 24.1 million people, more than two-thirds of the population, need help, according to the United Nations, which describes Yemen’s humanitarian crisis as the worst in the world today.

"The war has not only made Yemen the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world, but has plunged it into a terrible development crisis," said The UNITED Nations Development Programme's representative in Yemen.

"The ongoing crisis threatens to make Yemen's poorest population in the world -- a burden that the country, which is already suffering, cannot afford," he said.


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