UN Agencies Warn of More Food Shortages in Yemen
By Staff, Agencies
Food shortages will rise sharply in parts of war-torn Yemen in the next six months mainly because of the overall economic decline and the coronavirus pandemic that has ripped through the Arab world's poorest country, United Nations agencies warned.
A report by the World Food Program [WFP], the UN Children's Fund and the Food and Agriculture Organization said the number of people facing high levels of acute food insecurity is expected to increase from two million to 3.2 million in the country's south.
Yemen has been the site of the largest food crisis in the world since the beginning of the Saudi war against the country in 2015.
Coronavirus restrictions, economic shocks, conflict, reduced remittances, desert locusts, floods and significant underfunding of this year's aid response have compounded an already dire hunger situation after five years of war.
Famine, nevertheless, has never been officially declared in Yemen.
"Yemen is facing a crisis on multiple fronts," said Laurent Bukera, the WFP director for Yemen. "We must act now."
Yemen's conflict has killed more than 100,000 people and created the world's worst humanitarian disaster, with more than three million people internally displaced and two-thirds of the population reliant on food assistance for survival.
"Yemen is again on the brink of a major food security crisis," said Lise Grande, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen.
Some 24 million Yemeni people - 80 percent of the country's population - require some form of assistance or protection, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
And 75 percent of UN programs for the country, covering essentially every sector, from food to healthcare and nutrition, have already shut their doors or reduced operations.