— -- A pledging conference to raise funds for war-torn Yemen is set to take place in Geneva on Tuesday to help combat what the United Nations has called "largest humanitarian crisis in the world."
Ongoing violence has created a food crisis in Yemen, leaving nearly 7 million people, including, 2.2 million children, malnourished, the UN's United Nations Children's Fund said in a statement on Monday.
Hosted by the U.N. and the governments of Switzerland and Sweden governments, the funding event aims to make up for a $2.1 billion funding shortfall in the U.N,'s fight to deliver crucial aid and lifesaving assistance to Yemen, a country that has been dogged by intense war conflict for more than two years.
Yemen has been hit by at least 325 verified attacks, which have hit health facilities, schools, markets, roads, and other infrastructure, according to research released by the World Health Organization on Monday.
The conflict has disrupted essential aid and resources to the county, causing the flow of key medicines to declined 70 percent since March 2015, when the fighting first began, according to WHO.
“Without further action from parties to the conflict and the international community, Yemen is at a serious risk of plunging into famine – with even more children’s lives hanging in the balance,” UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa Geert Cappelaere said in a statement Tuesday. “We are in a race against time,” he added.
UNICEF said the rampant violence has made large parts of Yemen inaccessible to humanitarian workers, leaving many of the county’s 25.6 million occupants vulnerable to famine.
In a joint statement with the World Food Program humanitarian agency on Tuesday, UNICEF said its efforts were less than 20 percent funded and called for “an immediate political solution to end the war in Yemen.”
“If we act now, many lives could be saved in Yemen,” said Muhannad Hadi, WFP Regional Director for the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and East Europe. “We call on the international community to urgently provide us with sufficient funding and to help us avert famine across Yemen.”