The United Nations has warned that more than 8 million people in war-torn Yemen are a step away from famine.
Jamie McGoldrick , the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, raised the alarm on Monday, adding that though a Saudi-led coalition blockade had been slightly eased, the situation in the Arab country remained dire.
"The continuing blockade of ports is limiting supplies of fuel, food and medicines; dramatically increasing the number of vulnerable people who need help," he said in a statement.
On November 6, the coalition announced that it was shutting down Yemen's air, sea, and land borders, after Yemeni fighters targeted an international airport near the Saudi capital of Riyadh with a cruise missile in retaliation for the devastating aerial bombardment campaign against Yemen.
The crippling blockade has exerted further pressure on Yemeni people, who receive desperately needed humanitarian assistance through the western port city of Hudaydah and an international airport in the capital Sana'a, both under the tight siege.
The world body has already made a plea for the coalition to lift its blockade, warning that without aid shipments untold thousands of innocent victims, among them many children, will die and that its partial lifting was not enough.
The lives of millions of people, including 8.4 million Yemenis who are a step away from famine, hinge on our ability to continue our operations and to provide health, safe water, food, shelter and nutrition support, McGoldrick added.
The figure provided by the UN official marked an increase from past UN estimates of around 8 million people on the verge of famine.
The World Health Organization figures show that around 960,000 suspected cases of cholera and 2,219 deaths have been documented since the deadly epidemic broke out in April in the impoverished country, where 8 million people also face war-triggered famine.