The UN’s World Food Programme has warned that Yemen is on the brink of famine as a result of the ongoing fighting in the country. “Right now, the conflict-driven convergence between the lack of staple food, access to clean water, and a diminished fuel supply create the dawn of a perfect storm for the most vulnerable Yemeni people,” said Ertharin Cousin, WFP Executive Director, who has just returned from the country. Urgent help is needed by an estimated 13 million people, mostly women and children who are already hungry, the organization warned.
Most families in the war-torn country are subsisting on bread, rice and tea, and the WFP estimates that almost 2 million children are suffering from malnutrition or malnourishment. “The damage to Yemen’s next generation may become irreversible if we don’t reach children quickly with the right food at the right time. We must act now before it is too late,” said Cousin.
Food supplies and aid have been disrupted by shortages of fuel, recent fighting around port areas, and road networks that are not operational because of the fighting. “The scale of human suffering is almost incomprehensible,” said UN humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien, who also recently visited the country.
The fuel shortage is also creating a shortage of clean drinking water for millions of people. Clean water is crucial for food preparation and the care of livestock, which is a key food source in Yemen. The WFP has been operating in the region since the beginning of the conflict and has already reached 3.5 million people with supplies. They are planning an emergency operation which will start in September and run for six months. To fund the operation will require an estimated $320 million.
Help the children and families of Yemen who are on the brink of famine by donating to the WFP.
Images via WFP/Abeer Etefa