Yemen: How is WFP supporting the humanitarian community?

Since the escalation of the conflict in Yemen, WFP has been working tirelessly to reach desperate families with life-saving food assistance. WFP is also helping humanitarian partners to deliver assistance by providing critical logistics support and services. Here are six ways that WFP is supporting the humanitarian community in Yemen:

1) Setting-up a strategic staging area in Djibouti for rapid dispatch of food and relief items. WFP, as lead agency of the Logistics Cluster, has established a logistics hub in Djibouti for the humanitarian community to receive, store and send urgently required food and relief items by air and sea. Given its close proximity to Yemen and existing storage, airport and port facilities, the Djibouti hub is well-placed to rapidly consolidate and dispatch humanitarian cargo. The establishment of additional staging areas are planned in order to ease the flow of the relief cargo into Yemen. Cargo is also being shipped from the UN Humanitarian Response Depots (UNHRD), upon request of humanitarian partners. Since March 2015, UNHRD has dispatched over 150 metric tons of relief items (worth US$1.1 million) and equipment to the staging area in Djibouti and to Yemen on behalf of WHO, WFP, CARE and Mercy Corps.

2) Establishing a fuel supply for humanitarian partners inside Yemen. The security situation has made importing fuel into Yemen challenging and has caused humanitarian operations to slow. Through the Logistics Cluster, WFP has been able to import fuel into Yemen and made available to humanitarian organisations. From April to May, over 65,000 litres were distributed to 30 organisations, through the Logistics Cluster fuel provision service.

3) Transporting humanitarian aid, fuel and supplies by sea. WFP has chartered a number of dedicated vessels to shuttle food and relief cargo from Djibouti to the Yemeni port of Hodeidah. During the recent five-day ‘humanitarian pause’, WFP managed to move a sea shipment of 120,000 litres of fuel into Hodeidah. So far, a total of 420,000 litres of fuel and 500 m3 of relief cargo have been delivered on behalf of IOM/SOS, CARE, UNICEF and UNHCR to ensure operations continue.

4) Creating an air bridge to channel critical cargo from Djibouti to Yemen. Upon request, WFP’s aviation team is providing ad-hoc aircraft capacity for partners. In the last week, two flights were conducted carrying emergency food rations, such as WFP High Energy Biscuits and medical supplies from the International Medical Corps. WFP also aims to pre-position an aircraft full time in Djibouti to transport humanitarian cargo when needed.

5) Providing storage and transport services to humanitarian partners on the ground.  In addition, the Logistics Cluster is facilitating the transport of humanitarian cargo to Yemen, to support the transport needs of the humanitarian community. For example, the coordination of available storage space in Djibouti is being facilitated by the Logistics Cluster, as well as inter-agency sea transport from the Djibouti staging area. Crucial information such as logistics services and operational constraints are shared during weekly coordination meetings in Amman, Jordan and Djibouti as well as through a dedicated online platform.

6) Providing air services for aid workers. With no other way of reaching conflict-affected or isolated areas, aid workers are able to fly to Yemen with the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS). Currently, UNHAS is providing flights between Djibouti and Sana’a in Yemen, and will continue as long as it is needed. WFP aims to relocate its aircraft base to Sana’a if the security situation allows.