The lack of immediate and unhindered access to people who urgently need food assistance – compounded by a shortage of funding – means that millions of people in Yemen are on the brink of famine.
The current level of hunger in Yemen is unprecedented and causing severe hardship for millions of people. Now, 17 million people in the country are food insecure, meaning they do not have enough food. Of these, 6.8 million – that is almost one in four people – are severely food insecure and rely entirely on external assistance. The rate of child malnutrition is one of the highest in the world.
The nutrition situation continues to deteriorate. A recent survey showed that almost one third of families have gaps in their diets, and hardly ever consume foods like pulses, vegetables, fruit, dairy products or meat. More than 3 million pregnant and nursing women and children under 5 need support to prevent or cure malnutrition.
More than half of all families are buying food on credit, up by almost 50 percent compared to pre-crisis levels. Salary payments for public sector employees have been suspended since September 2016, affecting nearly 30 percent of the Yemeni population who depend on government salaries and pensions.
The humanitarian situation in Yemen is extremely fragile and any disruption in the pipeline of critical supplies such as food, fuel and medicines has the potential to bring millions of people closer to starvation and death. WFP calls for unimpeded access to reach those most in need and avert famine.
What the World Food Programme is doing to respond to the Yemen emergency
In October 2017, WFP provided food assistance to more than 7.2 million people suffering from extreme shortage of food. WFP has more than doubled the number of people reached in Yemen from 3.5 million people in January. However, due to financial constraints, only about half of these people are receiving full rations.
As lead of the Logistics Cluster, WFP is providing essential aviation, shipping and ground logistics services to sister UN agencies and other organizations for both the famine and cholera responses.
UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS)
Many road networks in the hardest hit areas of the country are still not open, making communities in conflict-areas inaccessible for humanitarian workers. The WFP-managed UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) operates three flights a week between Djibouti and Sana’a for humanitarian workers.
WFP is providing food assistance for those most urgently in need of support in what has emerged as one of the world’s worst hunger crises. WFP has more than doubled the number of people it reaches every month from 3.5 million people in January to an average of seven million people during the past three months.
Despite recent contributions from our donors, including substantial funding from the United States, needs are immense. WFP faces a funding shortfall of nearly US$335 million through May 2018.