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UN officials warn over ‘catastrophic’ conditions in Yemen

The Saudi-backed government and Shia rebels were accused of a destructive pattern of zero-sum politics.

The United Nations humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock has warned that conditions in Yemen are “catastrophic” after three years of war, with 22.2 million people needing aid.

Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, special UN envoy to Yemen, also accused both the Saudi-backed government and Shia rebels of prolonging the conflict.

The officials painted a dire picture of the Arab world’s most impoverished country plunging into the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and facing widespread destruction as a result of what Mr Cheikh Ahmed called the parties’ “destructive pattern of zero-sum politics”.

Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mr Lowcock warned the Security Council that famine remains a real threat.

Mr Cheikh Ahmed disclosed that a peace agreement had been about to be reached, but the parties refused to sign at the last minute. He called for fresh negotiations.

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