© WFP/Ahmend Basha
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 177th out of 189 in the 2019 Human Development Index.
Over five years of conflict have left thousands of civilians dead and 3.65 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, 16.2 million Yemenis are food insecure.
The coordinated response of the humanitarian community has prevented catastrophe in Yemen. But if these interventions stop or are severely hampered, the situation is likely to deteriorate quickly.
Malnutrition rates among women and children in Yemen remain among the highest in the world, with 1.2 million women and 2.3 million children requiring treatment for acute malnutrition. Of these children, 400.000 are at risk of dying without treatment.
Access constraints continue to pose a serious challenge to WFP in several areas especially where conflict is intense. Despite access and security challenges, WFP and its partners manage to deliver assistance to the vast majority of vulnerable people in the country.
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. The COVID-19 pandemic now poses a new threat to the people of Yemen. The economic impact of COVID-19 on countries like Yemen – struggling with poverty and devasted by conflict – may be more devastating than the disease itself.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Yemen
In-kind food assistance
WFP provides 13 million people with food assistance through direct food distributions or vouchers that people can use at retailers in areas where the markets are functioning. Each family of six gets a monthly ration of wheat flour, pulses, vegetable oil, sugar and salt.
WFP is expanding cash assistance in areas of Yemen where markets are stable enough to provide for communities’ basic food needs. To support this programme WFP is registering beneficiaries on a new biometric platform. Through this system, people will receive cash transfers equivalent to US$12 per person per month, which will inject much-needed liquidity into the economy.
In response to high acute, moderate and severe malnutrition rates among children, WFP is providing nutritional support to 1.1 million pregnant and nursing women and children under 5.
Assistance to refugees
WFP is currently providing food assistance to 8,500 refugees from the Horn of Africa in Kharaz camp in Lahj governorate.
WFP provides daily nutritious snacks – either date bars or high energy biscuits – to 950,000 school children. The programme focuses on areas that have been hard hit by conflict, leading to low levels of school attendance and poor food security.
The WFP-managed UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) continues to transport humanitarian aid workers between five key hubs in Yemen and the region. In addition, the Logistics Cluster facilitates regular sea and air transport for humanitarian cargo between Aden, Hodeidah, Sana’a and Djibouti.