ADEN, Yemen — He is an 8-year-old boy who is starving and has limbs like sticks, but Yaqoob Walid doesn’t cry or complain. He gazes stolidly ahead, tuning out everything, for in late stages of starvation the human body focuses every calorie simply on keeping the organs functioning.
Yaqoob arrived unconscious at Al Sadaqa Hospital here, weighing just over 30 pounds. He has suffered complications, and doctors say that it is unclear he will survive and that if he does he may suffer permanent brain damage.
Some 85,000 children may have already died here in Yemen, and 12 million more people may be on the brink of starvation, casualties in part of the three-year-old American-backed Saudi war in Yemen. United Nations officials and aid experts warn that this could become the worst famine the world has seen in a generation.
“The risk of a major catastrophe is very high,” Mark Lowcock, the United Nations humanitarian chief, told me. “In the worst case, what we have in Yemen now has the potential to be worse than anything any professional in this field has seen during their working lives.”