Yemen facing ‘outright catastrophe’ over rising hunger, warn UN humanitarians |

Today, more than 17.4 million Yemenis are food insecure; An additional 1.6 million people are “expected to fall into an emergency situation of hunger” in the coming months, bringing the total number of people in urgent need to 7.3 million by year-end.

Hunger increased fivefold

Of extreme concern to humanitarians is the possibility of the number of people experiencing “catastrophic” – or famine-like – levels of hunger, will increase five timesfrom 31,000 now, to 161,000, on December 31.

“These staggering numbers confirm that we are counting down to the disaster in Yemen and that we are running out of time to avoid it,” he said. World food program (WFP) Chief Executive Officer, David Beasley.

“Unless we get substantial new funding immediately, mass famine and famine will follow. But if we act now, there is still a chance to avert the impending disaster and save millions of lives.”

Fight for Marib

The development comes as fierce fighting was reported over the weekend between the Yemeni government troops and Ansar Allah separatist forces – also known as the Houthi forces – around the northern city of Marib oil-rich, which remained under government control, killing and wounding dozens of fighters.

The fighting took place as the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, finished His first week of consultations with key Yemeni parties aims to forge a peaceful and sustainable future for the country, which has been locked in an escalating conflict since 2015.

Before a High-level engagement event on humanitarian crisis in Yemen This Wednesday, the top UN aid official in Yemen, David Gressly, said in a tweet that the funding was “urgently needed to maintain food and nutrition support, clean water, basic health care and protection. Parties to the conflict can reduce their dependence on aid by reducing restrictions on the economy.”

Warning from United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), WFP and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), following a surge in violence across Yemen, which left at least 47 children killed or injured in January and February.

Missing the basics

After seven years of fighting, “many households in Yemen are deprived of basic food needs,” said Qu Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).FAO).

In the search for solutions, the FAO chief added that the agency is working “directly with farmers in the field to promote their self-reliance through a combination of emergency assistance and and support long-term livelihoods, to build their resilience, support local agricultural production, and offset people’s dependence on imports”.

Empty stomach

Highlighting the long-term negative impact on children, UNICEF CEO Catherine Russell warned that “more and more children” are “going to bed hungry” in Yemen.

Ms Russell added: “This puts them at risk for physical and cognitive impairment, and even death. “The plight of children in Yemen can no longer be disregarded. Lives are at stake. ”

An infant eats complementary foods at a World Food Program distribution point in Mokha, Yemen.

© WFP / Hebatallah Munassar

An infant eats complementary foods at a World Food Program distribution point in Mokha, Yemen.

For 2022, UNICEF alone needs $484.4 million to respond to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

According to the latest food insecurity analysis results, acute malnutrition among children under 5 years of age in Yemen and new mothers is on the rise.

Across the country – which was already one of the poorest in the world before the conflict escalated – 2.2 million children are now severely malnourished; An additional 500,000 children face severe acute malnutrition, a life-threatening condition.

Among the capitals hardest hit are Hajjah, Hodeida and Taizz.

Pregnant or breastfeeding mothers are also at risk of severe food shortages, with around 1.3 million suffering acute malnutrition, according to new sources. Integrated Stage Classification (IPC) analysis on Yemenreleased on Monday.

“The resounding lesson (from the IPC findings) is that we need to act now,” said Mr. Gressly, the United Nations Humanitarian and Resident Coordinator for Yemen. “We need to sustain an integrated humanitarian response for millions of people, including food and nutrition support, clean water, basic health care, protection and other essential needs.”

Blameless violence

The conflict is blamed for Yemen’s disastrous economic slide in recent years – and increased hunger – as a falling Yemeni rial has pushed food prices in 2021 to all-time highs. since 2015.

Although occurring thousands of miles away, the Ukraine crisis caused by Russia’s invasion is expected to lead to “significant import shocks” and higher prices, since 30% of Yemen’s wheat imports come from Ukraine.

“Peace is needed to end the decline, but we can make progress now,” Mr. Gressly said. “Parties to the conflict should lift all restrictions on trade and investment in non-sanctioned items. This will help lower food prices and open up the economy, giving people the dignity of a job and a way out of dependence on aid.”

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