WFP Scales Up Response in Yemen to Prevent Famine

SANA'A - Every year of conflict in Yemen pushes an additional one million people or more closer to the brink of famine, warns the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) on the eve of a high-level pledging event in Geneva.

"The conflict in Yemen has caused a humanitarian catastrophe creating suffering and hunger on an unprecedented scale" said Muhannad Hadi, WFP Regional Director for the Middle East North Africa, Central Asia and Eastern Europe. "The entire country is crippled by hunger, disease and poverty. Today, we call on all parties to the conflict to stop the violence and to donors to continue their generous support to save lives and prevent more families in Yemen from slipping into hunger."

WFP is scaling up its emergency response this year to reach almost 10 million desperate people as the brutal conflict exacerbates an already devastating hunger crisis in Yemen. WFP will also continue to support efforts of other partners by leveraging its logistics capacity and providing emergency telecommunications support.

In Yemen, nearly 18 million people - more than 60 percent of the population - need food assistance. In 2017, three years into conflict, 1.6 million additional people were pushed to severe hunger bringing the number of people who cannot survive without food assistance to 8.4 million.

Meanwhile, the potential of an entire generation is at risk with nearly three million children and pregnant and nursing mothers battling malnutrition.

The success of WFP's operation hinges on receiving sufficient resources and being able to access desperately hungry people at a time when conflict and insecurity often prevents food assistance from getting through. Funds are urgently needed as the lead-time for the purchase and delivery of food into Yemen averages more than four months.

In 2018, WFP is adopting new approaches to tackle extreme hungry and to invest in Yemeni children. Approximately 21 percent of all primary and secondary education schools have been closed, depriving 1.84 million children of formal education. In 2018, WFP will start rolling out its school meals programme supporting more than half a million children.

WFP requires over US$1 billion to assist almost 10 million people with food and nutrition assistance in 2018. So far, WFP has received contributions from donors including, Canada, UN CERF, European Commission, Germany, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Japan, Switzerland, UK, United Arab Emirates and the United States.

Source: World Food Programme