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The Yemen war, a "hell on earth" for children

04 November 2018
The Yemen war, a

Dozens of Houthi rebels have been killed since Saturday in fighting and airstrikes in Hodeida, on the west coast of Yemen, medical sources told AFP Sunday.

Civilians have borne the brunt of the conflict, which has killed over 10,000 people and sparked the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

The coalition has deployed thousands of troops to retake Hodeidah, a vital entry point for imports and a lifeline for millions of Yemenis after more than three years of war.

United Nations envoy Martin Griffiths aims to convene peace talks this month to seek a ceasefire in the three-and-half year war, which pits the Yemeni government, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, and the Iran-allied Houthi insurgents.

Her statement repeated a United Nations warning that half the population of Yemen - some 14 million people - could soon be on the brink of starvation.

The clashes erupted just hours after the government said on Thursday it was ready to restart peace talks with the Iran-backed Houthis.

The diplomatic initiative is being driven by the increasing threat of starvation, but also by worldwide outrage over the murder of USA -based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi which has put a spotlight on Saudi Arabia's role in the war in Yemen.

U.N. refugee agency UNHCR special envoy Angelina Jolie said the global community had been "shamefully slow" and urged the U.N. Security Council to find a negotiated end to the war.

"As an worldwide community we have been shamefully slow to act to end the crisis in Yemen", she said in a statement Sunday.

Without resolution to ongoing conflict, Yemen could face world's "worst famine" for decades, Antonio Guterres says.

"The only way to enable refugees to return home, and to bring down the overall numbers worldwide, is to end conflicts themselves".

The Houthis, who drove the government into exile in 2014, control much of north Yemen, including the capital Sanaa.

The coalition sent reinforcements to the west coast on Tuesday for a new assault on Hodeida - a strategic port on the Red Sea - according to Yemeni military officials.

Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and some of its Arab allies have been carrying out deadly airstrikes against the Houthi Ansarullah movement in an attempt to restore power to fugitive former president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh.

Despite a high-profile modernisation drive aimed at improving Saudi Arabia's image and attracting foreign investment, rights groups have detailed a crackdown on activists, increase in executions and discrimination against the Shiite minority.