Yemen is yet again in danger of a severe hunger and food security crisis.
Despite 80% of the population already relying on humanitarian aid before the coronavirus outbreak, the United Nations’ Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis predicts a huge increase of acute food insecurity by the end of the year – therefore, potentially returning to a state of near famine.
In 2018, the UN warned of a near famine but were aided with enough supplies to enable the World Food Programme (WFP) to feed around 13 million people a month and as such prevented the close famine. However, there is currently insufficient funding to aid this crisis. WFP had to halve their food aid to alternate months in north Yemen. UNICEF has announced that because of the lack of funding, ‘the number of malnourished under-fives could rise by 20% to 2.4 million’ by the end of this year.
Yemen was already suffering from a five-year war that resulted in “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis” when the pandemic hit. The ongoing conflict has already resulted in thousands of civilian deaths, a limited water supply as well as mass destruction – including the destruction of healthcare facilities, in which only half are now functioning. Yemen currently has a 27% mortality rate from the disease – more than five times the global average. Education services have also been disrupted – meaning 7.8 million children do not have access to education.
The Covid-19 outbreak is also drawing resources away from the humanitarian crisis. Not only are farmers being displaced due to the ongoing war but there has been an increase in droughts and locust infestations that has damaged agriculture and dramatically affected crop production – therefore, worsening the food security in Yemen. The country is on the brink of starvation.