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Conflict and economic crisis drive food insecurity and malnutrition in Yemen

May 25 2023, ADEN – The food security situation in Yemen’s districts under the control of the Government of Yemen (GoY) slightly improved during the first five months of this year, while acute malnutrition increased, compared to the same period in 2022. However, the outlook for the period between now until the end of 2023 indicates the need for more programme investments, as the modest improvements may be eroded, UN agencies have warned

Yemen remains one of the most food insecure countries globally, mainly driven by the impact of conflict and economic decline, the three UN agencies added.

The report shows that Yemen continues to require attention, with hunger stalking millions of people and the situation could worsen if nothing is done to address the key drivers of food insecurity in the Middle Eastern country.

Today’s report showed that between January and May 2023, about 3.2 million people experienced high levels of acute food insecurity in the GoY areas, and these are classified in severe food insecurity (IPC Phase 3 and above), representing a 23 percent reduction from the October – December 2022 estimates.

The number of people in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) decreased by half compared to the last quarter of 2022, but the UN agencies warn that this is only temporary and food insecurity may worsen in the coming months. The number of people facing IPC Phase 3 and above is projected to increase by 20 percent, with 3.9 million people likely to experience high levels of acute food insecurity. This is compounded by a 20 percent decrease in humanitarian food assistance and an increase in food prices. Sporadic fighting in frontline districts may also impact food security.

David Gressly, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, has stated that although progress has been made in reducing food insecurity in Yemen, the gains made are fragile and 17 million people in the country are still food insecure. He has thanked donors for their support so far but urges further support to sustain a comprehensive humanitarian response. Gressly is confident that with adequate resources, millions of Yemenis can be reached with critical food and nutrition support, clean water, healthcare, protection and other necessities, while also building community resilience to withstand future crises.

“FAO is seized with this situation, and we are working directly with farmers on the ground to enable them to maintain their livelihoods. We make sure that smallholder farmers in Yemen will withstand any shocks which impact food security.

UNICEF and its partners have provided life-saving interventions to around 420,000 children suffering from severe and acute malnutrition in Yemen in 2022, which is the highest ever recorded in the country. This was possible due to the expansion of nutrition services in 4700 primary healthcare facilities. However, malnutrition levels continue to be critical in several areas of the Southern Governorates. UNICEF stresses the importance of a multi-sectoral approach to address all forms of malnutrition. Together with partners, the organization is strengthening the provision of primary healthcare, including early detection and treatment of severe acute malnutrition.

“WFP’s assistance is critical for getting people to firmer ground, for averting crisis and famine, for a better future, and we urge our donors to renew their commitment to supporting the most vulnerable Yemenis. Yemen’s food insecurity situation remains fragile, and the hard-won gains of the past 12 months will be lost without continued and urgent support from our donors. There are women, men and children behind these IPC statistics, whose lives straddle the fine line between hope and utter devastation. We simply cannot take our foot off the gas now,” said WFP Country Director, Richard Ragan.

WFP

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