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United Nations appeals to pay more attention to Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen

The United Nations is appealing to the international community to pay more attention to Yemen, which it considers one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world

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A malnourished boy lies on a bed outside his family's hut in al-Tuhaita district of the Red Sea province of Hudaydah, Yemen, Sept. 26, 2016.
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Geneva, October 5, 2016: The United Nations is appealing to the international community to pay more attention to Yemen, which it considers one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world.

Most media attention is on Syria, where the country’s devastating, long-running civil war has killed more than 250,000 people and forced more than 11 million to flee their homes.

But U.N. officials fear this focus on the horrors playing out in Syria is overshadowing the desperate needs of more than 12 million people in war-torn Yemen.

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Jens Laerke, spokesman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said the war has destroyed the livelihoods of Yemen’s people, robbed them of basic services and pushed the economy to near total collapse. He said children are one of its main victims.

“This year, the nutrition cluster estimates that there are 1.5 million [children younger than 5] who are acutely malnourished, of whom 375,000 are suffering from severe acute malnutrition,” Laerke said. “There are many, many others suffering from moderate malnutrition, indicative of the gravity and severity of the situation.”

The U.N. World Food Program (WFP), which distributes food to about 6 million people every other month, understands the gravity of the situation. But the WFP has cut back monthly food rations because it has run out of money and urgently needs $145 million to carry out its mission until the end of the year, says agency spokeswoman Bettina Luescher. She said everyone, but especially the children, are suffering from the food shortages.
“Even before the violence and the war in Yemen, the malnutrition rates of children in Yemen were the highest in the world,” she said. “So you have a little bit of a perfect storm coming together there.”

“Half of the children are stunted,” Luescher added, “meaning they are too short for their age because of chronic malnutrition.”

The difficulty getting food, fuel and other relief items into Yemen, Laerke said, is because of extensive damage to the port city of Hudaydah.

“Before the war, Yemen was over 90 percent dependent on import of basic food items and medicines,” he said. “Eighty percent of those imports come through Hudaydah port. That gives you an indication of the importance of that lifeline.”

“What is particularly urgent in the port is the rehabilitation and the repair of five cranes, which were damaged in an airstrike in August 2015, so they have been partly out of commission for quite some time,” Laerke added.

Laerke said it was very difficult and slow to get shipments of goods in the port offloaded for further transportation with the cranes in need of repair.

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Saudi Arabia, an ally of the Yemeni government, began intensive airstrikes against the Houthi rebels at the end of March 2015. Airstrikes by the Saudi Arabian coalition have caused massive damage to the country’s infrastructure.

Worse is the number of civilians who have been killed or wounded. New U.N. figures put the number of casualties from the start of the Saudi bombing campaign until the end of September at nearly 11,000, including more than 4,000 killed.

Mourners carry the body of Youssef al-Salmi, 10, who was killed when a bomb exploded while he was playing with it near his family's house in Hasn Faj Attan village, in the mountainous outskirts of Sanaa, Yemen.VOA
Mourners carry the body of Youssef al-Salmi, 10, who was killed when a bomb exploded while he was playing with it near his family’s house in Hasn Faj Attan village, in the mountainous outskirts of Sanaa, Yemen.VOA

Rupert Colville, spokesman with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the casualties continue to mount. Since the latest estimates were issued, he said at least 10 civilians, including six children, were killed and 17 wounded in the Yemeni city of Taiz.

He said an artillery shell was fired Monday in a busy street near a market in an altercation between the warring parties.

“Witnesses who spoke to our staff in Yemen said the street where the market was located was crowded with people at the time of the attack,” he said. “There had not been any armed confrontations between warring parties in the Bir Basha area prior to this terrible incident.”

Stephen O’Brien, U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, who has just concluded a three-day mission to Yemen, called for the urgent protection of civilians and for the safe and unhindered access for aid workers to deliver humanitarian assistance.

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He said the U.N. has been scaling up its support and protection of the Yemeni people since 2015, but efforts to do more are being hampered by a lack of funds.

“So far this year,” he said, “aid workers have reached some 4 million people with assistance and protection. However, the Humanitarian Response Plan for 2016 is only 46 percent funded, leaving a gap of $880 million.” (VOA)

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FIFA World Cup 2018: Indian Cuisine becomes the most sought after in Moscow

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Indian cuisine in FIFA World cup
Indian dishes available in Moscow during FIFA World Cup 2018, representational image, wikimedia commons

June 17, 2018:

Restaurateurs Prodyut and Sumana Mukherjee have not only brought Indian cuisine to the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018 here but also plan to dish out free dinner to countrymen if Argentina wins the trophy on July 15.

Based in Moscow for the last 27 years, Prodyut and Sumana run two Indian eateries, “Talk Of The Town” and “Fusion Plaza”.

You may like to read more on Indian cuisine: Indian ‘masala’, among other condiments spicing up global food palate.

Both restaurants serve popular Indian dishes like butter chicken, kebabs and a varied vegetarian spread.

During the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

The Mukherjees, hailing from Kolkata, are die-hard fans of Argentina. Despite Albiceleste drawing 1-1 with Iceland in their group opener with Lionel Messi failing to sparkle, they believe Jorge Sampaoli’s team can go the distance.

“I am an Argentina fan. I have booked tickets for a quarterfinal match, a semifinal and of course the final. If Argentina goes on to lift

During the World Cup, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia
FIFA World Cup 2018, Wikimedia Commons.

“We have been waiting for this World Cup. Indians come in large numbers during the World Cup and we wanted these eateries to be a melting point,” he added.

According to Cutting Edge Events, FIFA’s official sales agency in India for the 2018 World Cup, India is amongst the top 10 countries in terms of number of match tickets bought.

Read more about Indian cuisine abroad: Hindoostane Coffee House: London’s First Indian Restaurant.

Prodyut came to Moscow to study engineering and later started working for a pharmaceutical company here before trying his hand in business. Besides running the two restaurants with the help of his wife, he was into the distribution of pharmaceutical products.

“After Russia won the first match of the World Cup, the footfall has gone up considerably. The Indians are also flooding in after the 6-9 p.m. game. That is the time both my restaurants remain full,” Prodyut said.

There are also plans to rope in registered fan clubs of Latin American countries, who will throng the restaurants during matches and then follow it up with after-game parties till the wee hours.

“I did get in touch with some of the fan clubs I had prior idea about. They agreed to come over and celebrate the games at our joints. Those will be gala nights when both eateries will remain open all night for them to enjoy,” Prodyut said.

Watching the World Cup is a dream come true for the couple, Sumana said.

“We want to make the Indians who have come here to witness the spectacle and feel at home too. We always extend a helping hand and since we are from West Bengal, we make special dishes for those who come from Bengal,” she added. (IANS)