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 relies 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.
Humanitarian organizations need to be able to move freely and safely in order to reach all those in urgent need before they fall deeper into crisis.
What the World Food Programme is doing to respond to the Yemen emergency
WFP plans to expand assistance to 9 million people in 2017. Out of 22 governorates, seven are in ‘Emergency’ level – one step below famine on the five-point Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) scale (IPC Phase 4) and another three are in Phase 3, meaning they would have been the same or worse without humanitarian assistance. WFP and its partners are making every effort to prevent a slide into famine or famine-like conditions.
Three WFP-chartered vessels arrived in Yemen’s port of Aden in July 2016 with life-saving food supplies for the most vulnerable and internally displaced people. These vessels marked the first shipload of humanitarian supplies to reach Aden since conflict erupted in Yemen in March.
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.
In February 2017, WFP reached nearly 5.3 million people in 17 governorates through food distributions and vouchers that can be exchanged for food in shops. WFP decided to reach as many people as possible with the limited resources at hand, even though it meant distributing smaller rations.
Our aim is to scale up our operation to fully cover 9 million people. The net funding requirement for this is US$ 1.2 billion until March 2018.
It takes four months from the time WFP receives funds until food reaches the country and is in the hands of families who need it.