Nearly half the Yemeni population relies entirely on humanitarian aid for survival and the country is on the verge of a widespread famine, a United Nations leader said Wednesday.

The situation in the war-torn country “is much graver” and “there is a clear and present danger of imminent and great big famine engulfing Yemen,” U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock said.

Lowcock, also the emergency relief coordinator for the U.N., attributed the food crisis to increased fighting near the port city of Hodeidah. A Saudi-led coalition is fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels for control of the country. Saudi officials say the Houthis are using the port to smuggle in weapons from Iran.

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