Even before fighting broke out in early 2015, Yemen was one of the poorest countries in the Arab world. With an average life expectancy below 64, the nation is ranked 168th out of 188 for human development.
Over the past two years, the conflict has left thousands of civilians dead and 3 million internally displaced. Its impact on the country’s infrastructure has been devastating, with major overland routes and airports severely damaged.
Despite ongoing humanitarian assistance, 15.9 million people wake up hungry every day. It is estimated that, in the absence of food assistance, this number would go up to 20 million.
Lack of immediate and unhindered access to people who urgently need food assistance – compounded by a shortage of funding – means that famine is a possibility for millions of people, mostly women and children who are already hungry in this war-torn country.
The 2017 Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan shows that about 3 million children and pregnant or nursing women are acutely malnourished, including 400,000 children under 5 suffering from severe acute malnutrition. This represents a 57 percent increase since late 2015 and threatens the lives and life-long prospects of those affected.
Access constraints continue to pose a serious challenge to WFP in several areas (Mareb, AlJawf and Taiz), mostly as a result of bureaucratic impediments or active hostilities. Despite these challenges, WFP and its partners manage to deliver assistance to the vast majority of vulnerable people in the country.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Yemen
In-kind food assistanceIn 2017, WFP has more than doubled the number of people reached in Yemen from 3.5 million people in January to over 7 million in October. However, due to financial constraints, only about half of these people are receiving full rations.
Cash assistanceIn selected governorates where markets still function, addition, WFP is progressively implementing, through a local supplier, a commodity vouchers programme. The system speeds up the delivery of assistance to vulnerable families while helping revive commercial activity. Each voucher provides a family of six with a one-month supply of wheat grain, pulses, vegetable oil, salt, sugar, and Wheat Soya Blend, a protein-rich blended food.
Assistance to refugeesIn partnership with government ministries, United Nations agencies, the World Bank, and non-governmental organisations, WFP continues to provide monthly food assistance to more than 17,000 refugees – mainly from the Horn of Africa – at Kharaz camp in southern Yemen.
LogisticsThe WFP-managed UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) continues to transport humanitarian aid workers between Sana’a, Djibouti and Amman. Starting from March 2017, UNHAS plans to add one more flight between Aden- Djibouti per week. In addition, the Logistics Cluster facilitates a weekly sea transport shuttle for humanitarian workers between Aden and Djibouti.