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