WFP: Five million Yemenis needs urgent food aid

Published on 19 March 2012 in News
Ahmed Dawood (author)

Ahmed Dawood

Price hikes caused by political unrest has led to more people suffering from food insecurity.

Price hikes caused by political unrest has led to more people suffering from food insecurity.

SANA’A – A survey from the World Food Program (WFP) has revealed that about five million Yemenis are suffering from acute food insecurity.

WFP’s Yemen representative, Lubna Alaman, said in a statement on Wednesday that “Hunger increases in Yemen owing to hiking prices of foodstuffs and political instability caused by recent conflicts Yemen witnessed last year,” stressing that many Yemenis needed urgent food aid.

WFP said that it will provide humanitarian aid in 2012 to about three million people suffering hunger as a result of rising prices and mass displacements of people that hit several northern and southern areas in the country.

The survey which was conducted between November and December of 2011, interviewed 8,000 households in 19 Yemeni governorates. It further examined the nutritional and food consumption status of more than 11,000 children and around 10,000 mothers between the ages of 15 and 49.

The survey concluded that Yemen’s acute malnutrition rate is alarming in many parts of the country. Rates of acute malnutrition are the worst in Hodeida estimated at 28 percent, which is almost double the WHO emergency threshold of 15 percent.

The survey said that the chronic malnutrition among children raises serious concerns, pointing out that 63.5 percent of the children in Al-Mahwit governorate are suffering from stunted growth.

UN agencies have said that Yemen is walking close to the line of Somalia, pointing out that four million Yemenis were affected by the economic and political crises that hit Yemen last year.

Dr. Ali Qaid, a professor of economics at Sana’a University told the Yemen Times that the reasons behind the spread of the poverty among Yemenis is the low income of most of its citizens, stressing that many simply could not afford access to basic essential needs.

He said that the poorest Yemenis are in rural areas, pointing to the low level of development projects, and the lack of job opportunities. He urged the government to launch major service projects to eliminate unemployment, instead of relying upon foreign aid which is of advantage to only a relatively few people.

He affirmed that major projects would alleviate poverty more effectively and would create job opportunities for the unemployed.

He praised banking institutions that provide loans for small projects, explaining that they are providing a new source of development and are addressing social troubles such as unemployment and poverty.

Mohammad Al-Kamali, a medical specialist, said that malnutrition leads to malabsorption, that in turn causes problems in the digestive tract, notably diarrhea.

The WFP is considered among one of the world’s most important  humanitarian organizations, carrying out urgent development projects combating poverty and famine in 80 countries. It supports education, health and infrastructure projects for communities and help refugees return to their homes.

The organization depends entirely on long-term donations from governments, private companies and individuals, and has no permanent sources of funding.