WASHINGTON

UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock warned on Thursday that the situation in Yemen is still getting worse with coronavirus spreading faster in the famine-hit country.

Lowcock said a new wave of infections has raised two times the number of confirmed cases in just six weeks.

“But right now, the virus is moving much faster than we can keep up. Vaccines won’t be enough to suppress the second wave. So we urgently need more resources to scale up treatment, monitoring and other activities that will mitigate the impact of the pandemic,” he told the UN Security Council.

He also warned that the second wave is coming at a time when large-scale famine is still bearing down on the country and said tens of thousands of residents are starving to death, with another 5 million just a step behind.

“To stop this unfolding catastrophe, we urgently need action on the five points I brief you on every month: protection of civilians; humanitarian access; funding; support for the economy; and progress towards peace,” he said.

Yemen has been beset by violence and chaos since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital, Sana’a.

The crisis escalated in 2015 when a Saudi-led coalition launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi territorial gains.

According to UN estimates, the conflict in Yemen has claimed at least 233,000 lives, with millions more facing starvation and in need of humanitarian assistance.

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