Joint assessment finds that conflict has left more than two-thirds of people in Yemen struggling to feed themselves
SANA’A – The number of food insecure people in Yemen has risen by three million in seven months, with an estimated 17.1 million people now struggling to feed themselves, according to a joint assessment by three UN agencies.
Of the 17.1 million food insecure people, about 7.3 million are considered to be in need of emergency food assistance.
The preliminary results of the Emergency Food Security and Nutrition Assessment (EFSNA) show that food security and nutrition conditions are deteriorating rapidly due to the ongoing conflict.
More than two-thirds of Yemen’s population of 27.4 million people now lack access to food and consume an inadequate diet.
The EFSNA is a joint survey conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP) in cooperation with the authorities in Yemen. It is the first national, household-level assessment conducted in the country since the escalation of the conflict in mid-March 2015.
Rates of acute malnutrition were found to have passed the “critical” threshold in four governorates, while agricultural production is falling across the country.
“The speed at which the situation is deteriorating and the huge jump in food insecure people is extremely worrying,” said Salah Hajj Hassan, FAO Representative in Yemen. “Bearing in mind that agriculture is the main source of livelihood for the majority of the population, FAO is urgently calling for funds to scale up its agricultural livelihoods support to farmers, herders and fishing communities to improve their access to food in 2017 and prevent the dire food and livelihood security situation from deteriorating further.”
“We are witnessing some of the highest numbers of malnutrition amongst children in Yemen in recent times. Children who are severely and acutely malnourished are 11 times more at risk of death as compared to their healthy peers, if not treated on time. Even if they survive, these children risk not fulfilling their developmental potentials, posing a serious threat to an entire generation in Yemen and keeping the country mired in the vicious cycle of poverty and under development,” said Dr Meritxell Relano, UNICEF Representative in Yemen.
“The current level of hunger in Yemen is unprecedented, which is translating into severe hardship and negative humanitarian consequences for millions of Yemenis, particularly affecting vulnerable groups,” said Stephen Anderson, WFP Country Director in Yemen. “Tragically, we see more and more families skipping meals or going to bed hungry, while children and mothers are slipping away with little to sustain themselves. WFP is urgently calling for support to provide food for the seven million people who are severely food insecure and may not survive this situation for much longer.”