“I know what I’m talking about when I talk about war, and it’s the most disgusting thing that you could ever think of. And I’ve also noticed with every single war, it’s been declared by men who were too old to go, and it’s made me suspicious.”
“Armed conflicts lead to hunger and reduced food production and economic growth in developing and transition countries. Reciprocally, food and economic insecurity and natural resource scarcities–real and perceived–often precipitate violence.”
-Marc Cohen and Per Pinstrup-Andersen (1999)
Recent images coming out of war-torn Yemen are heartbreaking. After three years of fighting between Houthi rebels and a Saudi-led coalition (backed by the US, UK and France), an estimatedeight million people are near starvation. The war has exacerbated the nutritional situation in what was already one of the poorest countries in the region, causing infrastructure to crumble and unemployment rates to skyrocket. Ablockade of Yemen’s portshas also led to a rise in food prices and to a lack of medical supplies, leaving people dependent on insufficient amounts of food aid.
A malnourished infant in Yemen, with a low upper arm circumference (source: BBC).
This has been building for a while. Nearly two years ago,a BBC report cited statistics from the UN that 370,000 children in Yemen were starving. Even infants, who may be buffered from difficult economic conditions via breastfeeding, were not spared as many mothers were too malnourished to produce milk.