More Yemenis Slip Into Hunger As The Country Faces A Serious Humanitarian Situation

Published on 12 October 2011

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today warned that the deteriorating food security in Yemen caused by rising food prices, severe fuel shortages and political instability, is severely straining peoples’ ability to feed their families.

SANAA-- “Rising food prices and political instability have left millions of people in Yemen hungry and vulnerable,” said Josette Sheeran, WFP’s Executive Director. “Malnutrition is stalking the lives of women and children. WFP food assistance provides vital nutrition and stability at a time of great need.”

Food prices have risen dramatically since the beginning of this year, with the price of bread doubling in the past 6 months, pushing even more people into hunger and food insecurity.

A recent WFP food assessment in Yemen’s four most food insecure governorates of Rayma, Amran, Hajjah and Ibb, revealed that an increasing number of people are unable to meet their basic food needs and that many families are skipping meals or diverting their meagre resources from healthcare to buying food. This is placing families, especially young children, at greater risk of malnutrition. Even before the crisis, more than 50 percent of Yemeni children were chronically malnourished and more than 13 percent were acutely malnourished.

WFP is and scaling up its programmes in Yemen to feed 3.5 million vulnerable people who have been pushed into hunger in the wake of sharp hikes in food prices and displacement in the northern and the southern regions of the country. The UN food agency is assisting over 70,000 people who have fled their homes due to ongoing fighting in the South and around half a million displaced and war-affected people in the North as a result of the 7-year long Sa’ada conflict.

“The challenges to reach and meet the urgent needs of the most vulnerable are huge, especially in the midst of a very volatile security situation,” said Lubna Alaman, WFP’s Representative in Yemen. “In addition to feeding internally displaced people, WFP is also assisting refugees from the Horn of Africa, severely food insecure people affected by the high food prices, malnourished children and pregnant women and nursing mothers.”