Yemen: Nearly a quarter of the population is severely food insecure, warns OCHA
17 April, 2012
Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Catherine Bragg today called on the international community to help millions of people in Yemen facing a worsening humanitarian crisis, as she ended a two-day visit to Sana’a.
The World Food Programme (WFP) and UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have recently warned that food insecurity is at alarming levels in Yemen because of conflict, displacement and sharp hikes in food prices in the country. Today, almost 5 million people—one quarter of the population—are unable to produce or buy the food they need. At least 800,000 children are suffering from acute malnutrition.
Nearly half a million people have been displaced due to conflicts in the northern and southern regions of the country, according to the UN Refugee Agency.
“I am very concerned by the acute humanitarian situation in Yemen, despite the recent, positive political developments,” said Deputy ERC Bragg. “Millions of vulnerable people need help with health care, clean water and basic sanitation, food and nutrition.”
In recent months, WFP has stepped up its support and now feeds some 3.6 million people. In March, UNICEF, the World Health Organization, international NGOs and the Yemeni Government launched a measles-vaccination campaign after the disease affected 3,600 children and claimed over 120 lives.
“I am encouraged to see that the capacity of the humanitarian community in Yemen to respond has been expanded since my last visit,” noted Ms. Bragg, who was last in the country in November 2011.
Humanitarian organizations have better access to affected communities in the north, and some donors have recently increased their commitment. However, the funding needed to carry out critical aid work remains low.
So far, the 2012 humanitarian appeal asking for US$447 million for Yemen is only 20 per cent funded. About $360 million is needed to address the growing needs of the food-insecure and conflict-affected communities throughout the country.