The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed a US$10 million contribution from the King Salman for Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to help WFP fight the rising levels of malnutrition in Hodeidah Governorate in Yemen.

More than 14 million people across Yemen are struggling to meet their most basic food needs, including 7 million who are severely food insecure. In some governorates, 70 percent of the population struggle to feed themselves. In the Red Sea governorate of Hodeidah, the situation is particularly alarming. Global Acute Malnutrition rates among children under five are as high as 31 percent - more than double the emergency threshold of 15 percent.

In support of WFP's efforts to provide food assistance to Yemen, the KSrelief contribution will be used to provide six months of emergency food rations to nearly 465,000 people.

"More people in Yemen are suffering from hunger daily, and the situation is beyond tragic," said WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin. "Mothers, with little to eat themselves, are often left with no option but to watch their children lose weight and fade away. We are grateful for the continuous support from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This contribution will boost efforts to fight malnutrition and address the chronic challenge of hunger in Hodeidah."

Abdullah Al Rabeeah, Advisor to the Royal Court and Supervisor General of KSrelief signed the agreement today with Cousin in Rome.

WFP has provided food for more than three million people every month since February 2016. However, in recent months, WFP split rations to reach six million people every month with a smaller quantity of food, as needs are increasing and resources are diminishing. With this assistance, WFP has helped stabilize the situation but needs are outpacing available resources, so food insecurity levels are still high.

In Yemen, WFP also aims to treat and prevent malnutrition among some 700,000 children under five, pregnant women and nursing mothers. This includes nutritional treatment for children under five and preventative interventions for children under two. Efforts to counter Moderate Acute Malnutrition are carried out with local partners in 2,200 health centres in 14 governorates across Yemen.

Among those receiving assistance through the KSrelief contribution, 235,000 people will be supported by general food distributions while nearly 230,000 will receive food vouchers.

Though this significant contribution is important for support to Hodeidah, WFP urgently needs more than US$459 million to provide much-needed food assistance across Yemen through to April 2017. It takes four months from the time WFP receives funds until food can be shipped to the country and is in the hands of the families who need it.

In addition to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, WFP is grateful to key donors that have contributed or pledged support to the people of Yemen - including the United States, Germany, Japan and the European Union.

Source: World Food Programme.

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