New Study Finds Millions of People in Yemen Slipping into Hunger

Published on 17 June 2015

Sana’a - A new study released today by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation in Yemen (MoPIC), on behalf of other technical partners, found that at least 6 million people in Yemen are severely food insecure and are in urgent need of emergency food and life-saving assistance – a sharp increase from the last quarter of 2014.

The results of the study follow weeks of information-gathering and analysis by UN agencies and NGOs under the leadership of MoPic’s Food Security Technical Secretariat. The analysis used the globally recognized Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC). The analysis was facilitated with funding from the European Union.

According to the Indicative IPC Analysis, ten out of Yemen’s 22 governorates are now classified as facing food insecurity at ‘Emergency’ level. Governorates at the ‘Emergency’ levels of food insecurity are: Saa’da, Aden, Abyan, Shabwa, Hajjah, Hodeidah, Taiz, Lahj, Dhale, and Al Baida.

Millions more are highly vulnerable to food insecurity and could easily fall into the emergency level unless there is a dramatic improvement in the availability and access to food at prices that most people can afford.

“We are seeing a serious and sharp deterioration of the food security situation because of the ongoing conflict, which is also making humanitarian access difficult”, said Salah El Hajj Hassan, FAO’s Yemen Representative. “In addition to the population facing food security Emergency, another over 6.5 million people are classified as facing a food insecurity security “Crisis”. Unless access to the affected population is guaranteed to provide humanitarian assistance, further deterioration of the situation is very likely”, added the FAO Representative. He also thanked the European Union for funding the Food Security Information Systems (FSIS) programme, which has enabled the study – a programme that is jointly implemented by FAO and the Food Security Technical Secretariat of the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation.

The intensified conflict has created a scarcity of staple foods and other essential commodities, disrupting livelihoods, markets, agriculture and fisheries, import, export and commercial activities, among others. This has resulted in a serious reduction in people’s incomes as well as difficulty in accessing basic staple foods. Although the entire country is facing the effects of the conflict, it is the poorest households, internally displaced, unskilled labourers, and marginalized groups, who are most affected.

“With the fluidity of the situation and until a political solution is in place, we will continue to see an increase in the number of people struggling to feed themselves and their families and further deterioration in food security across Yemen,” said Purnima Kashyap, WFP Representative and Country Director. “We appeal to all parties to ensure unrestricted access for the delivery of humanitarian assistance to affected people.”

The Vice Minister of MoPIC who led the launch of the June 2015 IPC results said: “Yemen is currently facing serious political and food security difficulties, which is having far-reaching impacts on people’s lives and livelihoods. Multi-agency analyses like the current IPC play an important role in helping decision-makers understand the nature and magnitude of the problem that the population is facing.”

The IPC analysis process brought together available food security information in a systematic manner to produce the best possible estimate of the current situation. “It is commendable that this exercise took place with full participation of the national IPC Technical Working Group, which includes all partners under the leadership of the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, despite an extremely difficult situation on the ground. We are indeed very grateful to all the government and non-government partners who participated in this critical exercise,” said the Vice Minister. He also thanked the EU for providing funding for the study.

The IPC analysis, an evidence based analysis process using international standards, also underwent a rigorous real-time external quality review conducted by the global multi-partner IPC Global Support Unit (IPC GSU). “The quality review concluded that the analyses made the best use of available evidence to infer the current situation. The IPC Phase Classifications are plausible and cleared as an Indicative IPC Analysis. The findings are invaluable for response planning”, said Ms. Cindy Holleman the IPC Global Programme Manager.

For further information, please contact:

Salah ElHajj Hassan,
FAO Representative, Yemen,
Salah.elhajjhassan@fao.org
Tel. +967 432 681 /2

Abeer Etefa
WFP Regional Spokesperson,
e-mail: abeer.etefa@wfp.org
Tel: +201066634352