29 October 2015 – SANA’A
The United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) is deeply concerned about the dire food security situation in the city of Taiz in southern Yemen where a lack of humanitarian access has left tens of thousands of people without food assistance for more than a month.
WFP food assistance last reached Taiz more than five weeks ago through WFP’s local partner, which distributed food assistance to nearly 240,000 conflict-affected people in the city.
“We plead for safe and immediate access to the city of Taiz to prevent a humanitarian tragedy as supplies dwindle, threatening the lives of thousands – including women, children and the elderly,” said Muhannad Hadi, WFP Regional Director for the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
“These people have already suffered extreme hunger, and if this situation continues the damage from hunger will be irreversible.”
A June report classified Taiz and nine other of Yemen’s 22 governorates as facing food insecurity at ‘emergency’ level – one step below famine on a five-point international scale.
The recent deterioration in security in Taiz has had a severe impact on food and fuel availability and prices. According to WFP’s market monitoring for Yemen for the first half of October, essential food and fuel were scarce in governorates where fighting had escalated in recent weeks.
The report revealed that Taiz was the worst affected in Yemen with the price of diesel increasing by 500 percent compared to pre-crisis levels and the price of wheat flour doubling.
WFP has overcome extreme challenges to reach 1 million vulnerable people in Yemen on average every month since the conflict started earlier this year. In September and October, WFP expanded its reach, providing food assistance to over 2 million people each month.
Violence since late March has exacerbated Yemen’s already poor food security, adding more than 3 million people to the ranks of the severely hungry in less than a year. According to recent estimates, 7.6 million people are severely food insecure, a level of need requiring urgent external food assistance.
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WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.
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