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Famine has arrived in pockets of Yemen. Saudi ships blocking fuel aren't helping

   March 12, 2021 1:13 AM
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by Nima Elbagir, Barbara Arvanitidis, Angela Dewan, Nada Bashir and Yousef Mawry, CNN Video by Alex Platt and Mark Baron, CNN

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Hodeidah, Yemen (CNN)When 10-month-old Hassan Ali arrived at the hospital, doctors were hopeful they could save him. So many children in northern Yemen, after all, don't even get this far, starved not only of food but also the fuel needed just to reach medical help.

CNN watched overstretched doctors and nurses as they tried to give oxygen to Hassan, who had arrived six days earlier but wasn't putting on any weight, and was struggling to breathe. Just hours later, Hassan died. "He is just one of many cases," said Dr. Osman Salah. The ward is full of children suffering from malnutrition, including babies just weeks old.

Every month, this hospital's pediatric ward takes in more patients than its capacity of 50, sometimes twice as many. Around 12 children die there each month, Salah said. He and his staff are running on empty -- they haven't been paid for more than half a year. Yemen has stepped up to the precipice of famine, and back again, many times over its six years of war. Now, famine conditions not seen in the country for two years have returned to pockets of the country. An estimated 47,000 people are likely to be living with "catastrophic" levels of food insecurity -- or famine-like conditions -- according to an analysis by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), the world's authority on food security. A further 16 million are living in either "crisis" or "emergency" food security conditions, the analysis shows. That's more than half of Yemen's population.

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