UN says war-torn Yemen 'living hell' for children

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He said the figures were "a reminder for all of us to realise how dire the situation has become".

A Saudi-led military coalition on Friday announced it had struck an airbase and several missile platforms in Sanaa that are affiliated with Yemen's Shiite Houthi militia, according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

The U.S. call comes almost a month after the slaying of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi in a Saudi Consulate in Turkey causing global outrage against the Saudis. Riyadh had declared at the start of the invasion that the war would take no more than a couple of weeks. The Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), an independent watchdog, recently said around 56,000 Yemenis had been killed in violence. "Subsequently", Pompeo said, "coalition airstrikes must cease in all populated areas in Yemen".

In his comments to the media, Guterres also called for an increase in foreign aid and for "food, fuel and other essentials" to be allowed to enter Yemen "without restrictions" in order to alleviate the suffering endured by the 22 million Yemenis deemed by the United Nations to be in need of humanitarian assistance. His plea came shortly after Defense Secretary Jim Mattis spoke in unusual detail about diplomacy to end the crisis.

He briefed Hadi on the battle developments during the second day of the operation to recapture Hodeidah city and its strategic port.

"We may not yet be at the level of a starvation but we should not wait until we have declared a starvation to step up and to pressure the parties to the conflict to stop this senseless war", he said. "The time to act is now".

Oxfam's head of advocacy, Toni Pearce, called British policy towards Yemen "irresponsible and incoherent", three years into a war which has sparked the world's largest humanitarian crisis in numbers of people and pushed the country to the brink of starvation.

Three-quarters of Yemen's 29 million people are food insecure, 1.8 children suffer from malnutrition and 400,000 children under age 5 are in the worst stage of malnutrition - without intervention they might die.

According to the World Health Organisation, more 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict since 2015, but some rights groups estimate the toll could be five times higher.

The Saudi-led military campaign has drawn criticism from the United Nations over widespread civilian casualties, and helped push Yemen to the brink of starvation.

A number of Western countries, the United States and Britain in particular, are also accused of being complicit in the ongoing aggression as they supply the Riyadh regime with advanced weapons and military equipment as well as logistical and intelligence assistance.