Famine in Yemen
Famine in Yemen has reached a critical condition, with a risk of losing an entire generation. Currently, 14.1 million civilians are considered to be “food insecure,” and 19.4 million people are unable to access clean water and sanitation. The U.N.’s Humanitarian Chief has labeled the famine as a conflict-driven food crisis.

In Yemen, two million people urgently need food supplies in order to survive, with an estimated 500,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition. The main issue in Yemen today is the level of malnutrition amongst newborn babies and developing children. Child malnutrition has risen by 63% in the space of one year and will continue to rise if the correct aid is inaccessible.

Yemen has been subjected to war for nearly two years. Forces loyal to the government of President Hadi, backed by Saudi Arabia, are violently conflicting with those allied to the Houthi rebel movement. The two major ports within Yemen are blocked by fighting, placing major restrictions on the entry of humanitarian aid to Yemen. With food supplies estimated to last only three more months, the famine in Yemen is looming closer than ever.

Yemen’s crisis delves straight into its economy, with the central bank declaring that it has no money. As a result, workers are unable to receive their salaries and are unable to buy any remaining food supplies to provide for their families.

With families finding it extremely difficult to cope with a severe lack of food supplies, access to healthcare has also deteriorated dramatically. Hospitals were bombed throughout the conflict, and therefore, many are left abandoned. Due to the difficulty of access into Yemen, vital medication is unable to reach civilians, and 20,000 Yemenis are unable to access specialist medical attention abroad due to being unable to flee the country.

Since the beginning of the conflict, only half of the promised international funding has been delivered to Yemen. Now that famine in Yemen is a serious threat to millions of lives, international donations and aid are vital at this critical time. In July 2016, three World Food Programme chartered vessels were able to arrive in Yemen with food supplies, but with many road networks not being open, those who most need aid in rural areas are unable to access it. Now, Yemen only has three months left of food supplies.

In order to try and alleviate the famine in Yemen, the World Food Programme has declared that it needs $285 million worth of donations to reach those who most need aid. The U.N. has also launched an international appeal for $2.1 billion to the international community. This is to provide civilians with life-saving resources, and it is set to be achieved in 2017. Let’s hope this target is achieved on time.

Georgia Boyle

Photo: Flickr


Malnutrition has become a serious health issue, threatening the progress of developing countries across the entire world. According to WebMD, malnutrition means that a person is not receiving the correct amount of nutrients in their diet. Although the definition is simple, the effects of malnutrition are both severe and complex. Ethiopia is one of the many countries facing this dangerous health condition.

Malnutrition in Ethiopia affects the 2.7 million people who are acutely food insecure. According to USAID, being food insecure implies two meanings:  one, that these people do not have a stable access to food due to either manmade or natural conditions like droughts, and two, that they receive the most basic food needs through food or cash transfers.

Perhaps the worst part of this health issue is the effect malnutrition has on children. According to USAID, 44 percent of Ethiopian children under the age of 5 suffer from chronic malnourishment, also known as “stunting.” The World Food Programme’s “The Cost of Hunger in Ethiopia” report revealed that since a maximum of 81 percent of all the reported malnutrition cases go untreated, 28 percent of children younger than 5 die from malnourishment every year in Ethiopia alone.

Since malnourishment is a lifelong condition, it also affects the quality of education and productivity in countries like Ethiopia. “The Cost of Hunger in Ethiopia” report also proved that “stunting” causes approximately 16 percent of primary school grade repetitions. In addition, the amount of individuals in the workforce has decreased by 8 percent due to the high rates of child mortality.

Not only does malnutrition in Ethiopia threaten the lives of millions, it also keeps this country from escaping the cycle of poverty. According to the “Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative Multidimensional Poverty Index,” Ethiopia is the second poorest country in the world for the fourth year in a row. Child malnutrition alone costs the Ethiopian government about 5.5 million dollars every year, which is 16.5 percent of Ethiopia’s GDP.

Due to this ranking and the serious health effects of malnutrition, the government of Ethiopia has strived to make these issues a priority. In June 2013, the National Nutrition Plan for Ethiopia was launched to decrease the extensiveness of chronic malnutrition, wasting and malnourishment in women, particularly those who have reached a reproductive age. By achieving these three goals, Ethiopia hopes to address the country’s widespread food insecurity and save millions of lives by 2015.

Although Ethiopia is certainly not the only country affected, the amount of malnutrition in Ethiopia demonstrates how serious and widespread this issue has become. While Ethiopia strives to achieve these goals by the end of next year, it is important to look beyond 2015 and to continue progress ensuring that everyone lives a healthy life with the proper nutrients.

– Meghan Orner

Sources: USAID, World Food Programme, UNICEF, Somalilandpress, WebMD