Funding crisis forces UN to cut war-torn Yemen food assistance


The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warned, it is running out of funds to continue to provide food assistance to13 million people in Yemen.

From January, eight million will receive a reduced food ration, while five million at immediate risk of slipping into famine conditions will remain on a full ration.

The reductions come at the worst possible time for families in Yemen who are dependent on WFP’s food assistance to survive.

In the last three months, inadequate food consumption – one measure of hunger tracked by WFP – has risen rapidly to affect half of all families as currency devaluation and hyper-inflation drives the economy to near collapse.

The WFP warned that its food stocks were dangerously low and more severe reductions would soon be unavoidable.

Donors have pledged only US$2.23bn (£1.68bn) of the US$3.85bn requested by UN agencies for the humanitarian aid effort in the war-torn country this year.

The WFP needs US$813m to continue to assist the most vulnerable until May, and US$1.97bn to help those on the brink of famine throughout 2022.

“Every time we reduce the amount of food, we know that more people who are already hungry and food insecure will join the ranks of the millions who are starving,” said Corinne Fleischer, the WFP’s regional director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“But desperate times call for desperate measures and we have to stretch our limited resources and prioritise, focusing on people who are in the most critical state,” she added.

Without new funding, the WFP could be forced to cut people from food assistance programmes completely. Malnutrition treatment and food supplies for children may also be reduced.

According to the WFP, half of all families – about 16 million people – are now affected by inadequate food consumption, with the devaluation of the Yemeni rial and hyper-inflation driving the economy to near collapse.

Food prices have more than doubled across much of the country this year, while fighting across multiple front lines has displaced tens of thousands of people.

Yemen has been devastated by a conflict that escalated in 2015, when the Iran-aligned rebel Houthi movement seized control of large parts of the country and a Saudi-led coalition launched an operation to restore President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi’s rule.

The fighting has reportedly left more than 130,000 people dead, while tens of thousands more are estimated to have died from indirect causes, such as lack of food, health services and infrastructure. (Source: BBC)