UN food agency warns of serious humanitarian situation in Yemen

IDP children carrying food for their families in Mazraq One Camp, Yemen. Photo: IRIN/Adel Yahya

12 October 2011 – An increase in food prices, political uncertainty and fuel shortages are severely straining Yemenis’ ability to feed their families, the United Nations Food Programme (WFP) warned today, adding that the country is now facing a serious humanitarian situation.

“Rising food prices and political instability have left millions of people in Yemen hungry and vulnerable. Malnutrition is stalking the lives of women and children,” said WFP’s Executive Director Josette Sheeran.

Food prices in Yemen have risen dramatically since the beginning of this year, with the price of bread doubling in the past six months.

A recent WFP assessment revealed that an increasing number of people are unable to meet their basic food needs, placing families – especially children – at risk of malnutrition. Even before the crisis, more than 50 per cent of Yemeni children were chronically malnourished and more than 13 per cent were acutely malnourished.

In a news release, the agency said it would scale up its programmes in the country to feed 3.5 million people affected by the crisis, particularly those who have been displaced in the northern and southern regions of the country.

“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.”

The security situation in Yemen has progressively deteriorated since a civilian uprising began earlier this year, despite international efforts to promote a peaceful political transition. As a result, many people have died and thousands of others have been displaced.


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