A rapidly worsening food insecurity situation is threatening nearly 20 million people in Yemen, according to the latest Integrated food security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis, which was released today by the Yemeni Government, the United Nations and humanitarian partners.
The World Food Programme (WFP) said its food assistance was the only this preventing massive famine in the country, but fighting, high prices and a failing economy are pushing people to the brink.
WFP Executive Director David Beasley described the report as “devastating” adding that it realized “our worst fears that people are starving to death in Yemen.” He said the report showed that the number of people “on the brink of starvation is doubling.” He added, “We need help and we need it now, otherwise innocent families, little girl, and little boys are going to die.”
IPC results show us that what is happening in Yemen is an ever-deepening crisis with 15 million people severely hungry, among them 65,000 people facing levels of hunger described as “catastrophic”.
WFP said it had been reaching more than seven million severely hungry people every month with food assistance and was scaling up its response to reach as many as 12 million people in need of emergency food and nutrition assistance.
WFP said its biggest challenge was access. It said it had been able to avert famine in areas it was able to reach adding that the areas in which people are facing famine are mostly in conflict zones to which it had no regular access.
WFP noted that the planned scale-up would require substantial financial resources, adding that it had enough food stocks in country for now but would need 152 million USD a month to sustain its scale-up into next year.
WFP stressed that it was vital for there to be a positive outcome to the peace talks in Sweden this week. It said as long as the fighting continued, WFP would have challenges in gaining access to the people most in need.
WFP said the three criteria necessary for famine have not been met. The famine criteria are near-total lack of food consumption by at least 20 percent of people; at least 30 percent of children under five are acutely malnourished (wasted); and a mortality rate of more than two deaths per 10,000 people. WFP underscored however that even if it was not famine, those living in the worst-affected areas are experiencing horrific levels of hunger, with little or nothing to eat or to feed their families- WFP