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Yemen conflict leaving civilians in urgent need of aid, UN says

Smoke rises after Saudi-led airstrikes hit a food factory in Sanaa, Yemen, Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016. U.N. officials say four out of five Yemenis are in need of humanitarian assistance.
Smoke rises after Saudi-led airstrikes hit a food factory in Sanaa, Yemen, Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016. U.N. officials say four out of five Yemenis are in need of humanitarian assistance. AP Photo/Hani Mohammed

The U.N.’s humanitarian chief says civilians in Yemen need urgent protection and more humanitarian aid.

Speaking in Sana’a on Tuesday, Stephen O’Brien said four out of five Yemenis are in need of humanitarian assistance.

READ MORE: Yemen’s civil war has done $14B of damage to infrastructure and economy: report

“In the 21st century that is outrageous by any measure. I am particularly concerned about the health care system as most of the health facilities in 16 out of 22 governorates are either not functioning or only partially functioning, denying thousands of Yemenis access to much needed essential health services,” O’Brien said in a statement.

WATCH: Malnutrition grows in war-ravaged Yemen 
Click to play video: 'Malnutrition grows in war-ravaged Yemen' Malnutrition grows in war-ravaged Yemen
Malnutrition grows in war-ravaged Yemen – Sep 25, 2016

He said aid groups are ready to help but need “safe and unhindered access.”

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READ MORE: UN warns that 7.6 million Yemenis are ‘one step’ from famine

Yemen has been embroiled in fighting that pits the Iran-backed Houthis and forces loyal to a former president against the Saudi-backed and internationally recognized government.

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