As the world's attention is focused on Ukraine and the ripple effects of the war, the international community is urged not to forget other countries like Yemen, where millions of people face starvation.

The brutal civil war has killed hundreds of thousands of people and left millions on the brink of famine in what has long been the Arab world's poorest country.

After more than seven years of fighting, and with 80% of the population in need of humanitarian aid and protection, Yemen is now the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, according to the UN.

People are struggling more than ever to secure even the most basic staples as a result of soaring food and fuel prices triggered by Russia's February invasion of Ukraine.

A man brings his daughter, who is suffering from severe acute malnutrition, to be checked by a doctor

Two thirds of people in Yemen have almost nothing to eat.

By the second half of this year, 19 million people, more than half the Yemeni population, are projected to face acute food insecurity, an increase of almost 20% compared to the first half of 2021.

Russia and Ukraine account for the largest share of wheat and wheat import products in Yemen, at around 40%.

This supply chain is now in jeopardy while the war in Ukraine rages. It could also impact on other processed wheat products imported from neighbouring countries, and food aid from NGOs who might also be reliant on grain supply from Ukraine or Russia.

The impact of the Ukrainian crisis on Yemen has three dimensions, according to Ahmed Nagi, a non-resident Yemen expert at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut.

The first, is in relation to previous international attention on what's happening in Yemen, and how in some cases it helped push for political compromises, or at least de-escalated conflict in some areas. Mr Nagi is concerned by the shift in focus of global communities.

"We are losing this kind of attention at the moment because all eyes are on what's happening in Ukraine, because it is actually the biggest story," he said.

He believes the second aspect is related to food insecurity especially as Yemen is so heavily reliant on wheat from Russia and Ukraine.

"There is a huge concern about, the lack of food coming either from these countries or from other alternatives because the wheat market will be high in terms of prices, and of course, it will be so much more difficult to get what you need from the global market," Mr Nagi said.

He said the third factor is related to the indirect consequence of the conflict; the high price of oil. It brings up the question of availability versus affordability.

"Sometimes you can find the wheat, or you can find the food but transporting these foods from urban areas or from Yemeni ports to rural areas, knowing that 70% of Yemeni population are based in the rural areas.

"It's very costly. We are seeing a fuel shortage in many areas, we are seeing high prices in fuel in all parts of the country. So we see the impacts increasing day by day, as the conflict in Ukraine is continuing day by day."

The disruption to the supply chain on imported wheat for a staple food like bread, which is the main calorie source for many families in Yemen, often living on just one meal a day, is not something that can be easily remedied.

The ongoing instability in Yemen means there are currently no alternatives to imports.

If there was a stable government, it is possible there would be initiatives to support and encourage local farmers to focus on growing grains or wheat to reduce the reliance on imports, while high fuel costs are also a deterrent for producers.

Mr Nagi said Yemen is lacking the national decisions that are needed: "The de facto authorities or the governmental authorities, which are recognised internationally, are busy with the conflict and they don't have effective policies to resolve this problem, unfortunately."

Despite many international aid organisations working in different parts of Yemen, it is challenging to access certain areas due to the conflict.

More than 70% of the population is living in rural areas, but 70% of NGO’s are working in urban areas with little or no access to rural areas.

And even in the areas where they do have access, it is difficult to reach those most in need.

A woman carries jerrycans she filled with water from a stream 2km away from her home in Taez, Yemen

"When it comes to even the urban areas, there are huge interventions coming from militia. The militia is controlling these areas to identify people who are in need, and they always control the decisions of the aid organisations.

"So, here actually the key problem is the sort of control from the militias who orchestrate the aid in the way they want to see it delivered, not based on the needs of people or the needs of the communities," said Mr Nagi.

As Yemen’s ongoing fuel shortage and inflation could be further exacerbated by rising global oil prices brought on by the war in Ukraine, there is cautious optimism that a current two month truce in the country will hold.

The ceasefire between the internationally recognised government of Yemen and Houthi rebels was brokered by the United Nations earlier this month.

Civilian casualties doubled in Yemen since UN human rights monitoring ended last October, with one person reportedly injured or killed every hour, while airstrikes and fighting were the worst on record since the conflict began.

The truce has reduced the violence and has also allowed Sana’a airport and the Hodeidah ports to open which should allow fuel to get in, but prices are still extremely high.

The Norwegian Refugee Council warns the most immediate and critical impact of the war in Ukraine is the rise in food prices.

Karl Schembri, NRC Regional Media Advisor for East Africa and Yemen said millions of people, many of whom are children are sleeping hungry at night, while 24 million people are in need of some kind of aid.

He said there was a point when there was the duplicity of Western nations providing arms and ammunition to the warring parties and at the same time pledging money, but now they have stopped or cut a lot of that support.

"It's not necessarily directly linked to Ukraine. I think that's still sort of sinking in.

"Of course there is immediate political attention to it that is going to have an impact on the rest of the crisis, but Ukraine is ultimately also felt everywhere because of the food crisis, and that's exacerbating everything else," Mr Schembri said.

The truce is happening at the same time as new leadership. President Hadi announced from Riyadh that he is handing his powers to a new leadership council.

The new body will negotiate with the Houthi’s "to reach a ceasefire all over Yemen" and "a final political solution".

Saudi Arabia welcomed the announcement and pledged $3 billion in aid and support, some of it to be paid by the United Arab Emirates.

Previous ceasefire attempts in the last seven years of the conflict have been unsuccessful. When they failed the violence escalated. There are concerns that the impact of this latest truce failing could be catastrophic if the pattern of violence reoccurred.

Yemenis inspect the damage by air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition targeting the Huthi rebel-held capital Sanaa in January

Mr Schembri believes this truce is the last hope for Yemeni people. However it is still baby steps toward building some trust between the warring parties and efforts towards gaining the longer term stability that Yemen needs to get back on its feet.

And while there is cautious optimism in Yemen, the international community is urged not to forget the millions of people traumatised by war.

"The levels of poverty and suffering that we have reached so far makes this the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world.

"And taking this any further, allowing it to fester as it has been like a big gaping wound in plain sight of the world, but completely neglected would just mean millions more put at risk, the risk of dying of starvation, people who can't access life-saving medical aid, and people getting killed again," Mr Schembri said.