SANAA, Yemen, June 9 (UPI) -- Yemen's fragile democracy is vulnerable to severe humanitarian needs, a United Nations official said of the Middle East's poorest country.
The aftermath of the Arab Spring, the Middle East pro-democracy movement, has allowed women, young people and organizations into Yemen's political process following the 2011 abdication of Ali Abdullah Saleh, who ruled the country for 33 years. However, "there's a risk the political process could fail" without humanitarian aid, said Trond Jensen, head of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian affairs in Yemen.
Half of Yemen's population of 23.8 million live below the poverty line, over 14 million people require humanitarian assistance, and 13 million lack adequate water and sanitation, according to a report by the Overseas Development Institute. It added 60 percent of Yemen's children are chronically malnourished.
The country has been affected by droughts and armed conflict, as well as an influx of 240,000 refugees, many from Somalia, and only $122 million of the required $592 million in humanitarian aid has been received.
The situation in Yemen is "one of the most forgotten crises in the world," the U.N. cautioned.