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In Yemen, 7 million people are on the brink of famine, FAO Director-General warns

Graziano da Silva briefs UN Security Council on need to save lives by saving rural livelihoods in Yemen

FAO’s José Graziano da Silva and the WHO’s Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus briefing the UN Security Council.

12 July 2017, Geneva

The scale of the food crisis in conflict-ridden Yemen is staggering with 17 million people – two thirds of the population – severely food insecure and seven million of these on the verge of famine, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said today in a briefing to the UN Security Council.

In a video link from Geneva, he noted how conflict and violence in Yemen – “the largest humanitarian crisis today” – have disrupted agricultural livelihoods and are intensifying in some of the most food insecure and famine-risk areas.

The latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification conducted in March this year, registered a 20 percent increase in the number of people estimated to be severely food insecure (IPC Phase 3 and above). Seven million are in IPC Phase 4 meaning they are a step away from being classified to be in Famine (IPC Phase 5).

In Yemen “crop production last year already fell by 40 percent compared with the pre-conflict average. This year, because of  poor rains the harvest will be even lower,” he said.

The virtual collapse of public health and veterinary services has further heightened the risk of disease and death. In addition, there are risks in the use of poor quality water of irrigation and food preparation.

Livestock disease surveillance and vaccination programmes have come to a halt pushing the risk of disease outbreaks higher. The risk of emerging and endemic zoonoses (animal diseases) exists across the country.

Saving lives by saving livelihoods

The need for long-term political solutions for achieving sustainable peace in Yemen is unquestionable, but there is much we can do now to fight hunger and malnutrition. “We save lives by saving livelihoods,” Graziano da Silva said.

“If we don’t urgently address the needs of rural people – who make up 70 percent of Yemen’s population – we will not have the prospect for a better future.”

Graziano da Silva addressed the UN Security Council together with the World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

FAO’s response

FAO is doing its best to respond to the crisis on many fronts and with limited funding. So far this year, FAO has reached 450 000 people with a mixture of animal health, dairy, animal feed, crop and vegetable production.

In Yemen, at a cost of $220 per family, a crop kit can yield enough food for about three months. A vegetable kit costing $80 per family can yield enough vegetables that families can eat and even sell to their communities all year long.

FAO is working closely with the World Bank, the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and others to increase food production, maintain and enhance livelihoods, protect public health and conduct the IPC analysis.

Yemen’s food situation on verge of ‘humanitarian disaster’ – UN

Yemen has one of the highest child malnutrition rates in the world, with around half of all children under five stunted – too short for their age as a result of malnutrition. Photo: WFP/Ammar Bamatraf

Yemen has one of the highest child malnutrition rates in the world, with around half of all children under five stunted – too short for their age as a result of malnutrition. Photo: WFP/Ammar Bamatraf

12 May 2016

The food security and nutrition situation in Yemen will turn into a humanitarian disaster unless urgent funding is accessible for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to deliver timely aid in the April/May cereal and vegetable planting season and the summer fishing season, and vaccinate livestock before winter, the United Nations agency has warned.

Around 14.4 million people – over half of Yemen’s population – urgently need food security and livelihood assistance, FAO reported earlier this week. The volume of food required in Yemen is far greater than humanitarian actors can provide. Agriculture must be an integral part of the humanitarian response to prevent Yemen’s dire food security situation from worsening.

Increasing households’ resilience to food security threats will contribute to saving many lives. Emergency agricultural interventions are critical to preserving household. Food production and income generation are especially vital in hard-to-reach areas where aid access is limited.

The factors negatively affecting the food security include a reported desert locust outbreak, which threatens the livelihoods of more than 100,000 farmers, beekeepers and herders in five governorates, and the April flooding, which put 49,000 people in need of urgent assistance, the FAO said.

Desert Locust outbreak in Yemen leaves surrounding countries potentially at risk

Juvenile desert locust hoppers. Photo: FAO/G.Tortoli

Juvenile desert locust hoppers. Photo: FAO/G.Tortoli

12 April 2016

The presence of recently discovered Desert Locust infestations in Yemen, where conflict is severely hampering control operations, poses a potential threat to crops in the region, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned today.

The UN agency urged neighbouring countries, including Saudi Arabia, Oman and Iran, to mobilize, survey and control teams, and to take all necessary measures to prevent the destructive insects from reaching breeding areas situated in their respective territories.

Strict vigilance is also required in Morocco and Algeria, especially in areas south of the Atlas Mountains, which could become possible breeding grounds for Desert Locust that have gathered in parts of the Western Sahara, Morocco and Mauritania, FAO added.

Cyclones help trigger locust presence

Groups of juvenile wingless hoppers and adults as well as hopper bands and at least one swarm formed on the southern coast of Yemen in March where heavy rains associated with tropical cyclones Chapala and Megh fell in November 2015.

“The extent of current Desert Locust breeding in Yemen is not well known since survey teams are unable to access most areas. However, as vegetation dries out along the coast more groups, bands and small swarms are likely to form,” said Keith Cressman, FAO Senior Locust Forecasting Officer, in a press release.

He noted that a moderate risk exists that Desert Locusts will move into the interior of southern Yemen, perhaps reaching spring breeding areas in the interior of central Saudi Arabia and northern Oman.

There is a possibility that this movement could continue to the United Arab Emirates where a few small swarms may appear and transit through the country before arriving in areas of recent rainfall in southeast Iran.

FAO is assisting technical teams from Yemen’s Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation in conducting field survey and control operations in infested coastal areas, as part of the agency’s continuing support to the country’s locust control efforts.

It also warned that in northwest Africa, small groups and perhaps a few small swarms could find suitable breeding areas in Morocco (Draa Valley), Mauritania (near Zouerate) and Algeria. In addition, some small-scale Desert Locust breeding is likely to occur in southwestern Libya, but numbers should remain low.

The agency stressed the need for close monitoring in all of these areas over the next few months to prevent the insects from forming large, destructive swarms.

The Desert Locust situation in other countries reportedly remained calm in March with no significant developments detected or expected.

A force of nature

Desert Locust hoppers can form vast ground-based bands. These can eventually turn into adult locust swarms, which, numbering in the tens of millions can fly up to 150 km a day with the wind.

Female locusts can lay 300 eggs within their lifetime while an adult insect can consume roughly its own weight in fresh food per day – about two grams every day. A very small swarm eats the same amount of food in one day as about 35,000 people and the devastating impact locusts can have on crops poses a major threat to food security, especially in already vulnerable areas.

Locust monitoring, early warning and preventive control measures are believed to have played an important role in the decline in the frequency and duration of plagues since the 1960s; however, today climate change is leading to more frequent, unpredictable and extreme weather and poseshttp://www.fao.org/ag/locusts/en/activ/1307/climate/index.html on how to monitor and respond to locust activity.

FAO informed that it operates a Desert Locust Information Service that receives data from locust-affected countries. This information is regularly analyzed together with weather and habitat data and satellite imagery in order to assess the current locust situation, provide forecasts up to six weeks in advance and if required issue warnings and alerts.

FAO also undertakes field assessment missions and coordinates survey and control operations as well as assistance during locust emergencies. Its three regional locust commissions provide regular training and strengthen national capacities in survey, control and planning.

Recent cyclones and heavy rains in Yemen and Africa could trigger locust plagues, UN agency warns

Locusts can devastate crops and pastures. Photo: FAO/Giampiero Diana

Locusts can devastate crops and pastures. Photo: FAO/Giampiero Diana

11 November 2015

As unusually heavy and widespread rains continue in northwest Africa, the Horn of Africa and Yemen, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned today that the extreme weather conditions could favour Desert Locust breeding, and stressed the need closely monitor the situation over the next six months to prevent plagues.

“Extreme weather events, including torrential downpours, have the potential to trigger a massive surge in locust numbers. Rain provides moist soil for the insects to lay their eggs, which in turn need to absorb water, while rains also allow vegetation to grow which locusts need for food and shelter,” said Keith Cressman, FAO Senior Locust Forecasting Officer in a news release.

According to FAO experts, the locust situation in countries normally affected by Desert Locust remained mostly calm in October with only small-scale breeding activity detected.

However, the experts warned that impact of El Niño in Africa and the unprecedented back-to-back tropical cyclones Chapala and Megh in the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa could aid the insects in forming destructive swarms.

“The effects of a locust plague can be devastating on crops and pastures and thus threaten food security and rural livelihoods,” added Mr. Cressman.

The agency experts said that once airborne, swarms of tens of millions of locusts can fly up to 150 kilometres a day with the wind.

Female locusts can lay 300 eggs within their lifetime while a Desert Locust adult can consume about two grams of fresh food every day, which is roughly its own weight and a small swarms eats the same amount of food in one day as about 35,000 people.

FAO operates a Desert Locust Information Service that receives data from locust-affected countries and the information is analysed regularly to assess the current locust situation and provide forecasts up to six weeks in advance and if required, issue warnings and alerts.

The agency also said that the recent tropical cyclones Chapala and Megh that hit Yemen also affected north-eastern Somalia, where torrential rains which far exceeded the annual average rainfall for the entire year caused flooding and damage.

FAO reported that the winter breeding areas along both sides of the Red Sea, seasonal rains began in early October, which is slightly earlier than normal and warned that if the rains continued, there would be sufficient time for two generations of breeding to occur this year in the coastal areas of Sudan, northern Eritrea, southeast Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

FAO stressed that prevention is the key in reducing the extent to which Desert Locust can affect agricultural areas, mainly through early warning and early reaction.

The agency said that it is imperative that countries conduct necessary field surveys after unusually heavy rainfall, and maintain them on a regular basis for routine monitoring of breeding conditions and locust infestations.

Further, FAO said that finding of significant infestations requires control operations to avoid a further escalation in locust numbers, and asserted that the results of survey and control operations must be reported quickly and accurately so that swift decisions can be taken to prevent the spread of locusts to other countries.

FAO observed that while such measures helped in curtailing the frequency and duration of plagues since 1960s, climate change activities today are leading to more frequent, unpredictable and extreme weather that poses fresh challenges on how to monitor locust activity.

Lastly, the agency stressed that without regular monitoring, locust outbreaks followed after floods and cyclones could lead to plagues and added that warmer conditions could possibly shorten the incubation and maturation periods of the insects.

الأمطار الغزيرة والأعاصير الأخيرة قد تعيد الجراد إلى بعض مناطق إفريقيا واليمن

0f73b966c4fao11 نوفمبر 2015 – إذاعة الأمم المتحدة

إستماع

يمكن للجراد أن يدمر المحاصيل والمراعي، جاء هذا التحذير اليوم من منظمة الأمم المتحدة للأغذية والزراعة (فاو) حيث قالت إن الغزارة غير الاعتيادية للأمطار واسعة النطاق التي سقطت مؤخراً في شمال غرب إفريقيا، والقرن الإفريقي، واليمن من الممكن أن تساعد على تكاثر الجراد الصحراوي.

ودعت المنظمة إلى ضرورة القيام بالرصد الدقيق على مدى الأشهر الستة المقبلة لمنع هذه الحشرات من تشكيل أسراب مدمرة.

وقال خبراء المنظمة إن الحالة العامة في البلدان المتأثرة عادةً بالجراد الصحراوي ظلّت هادئة على الأكثر خلال أكتوبر/تشرين الأول ولم يُكتشف سوى نشاط تكاثر محدود النطاق.

لكن الخبراء لاحظوا أيضاً أن الوضع قد يتغير، ويُعزى ذلك جزئياً إلى تأثير ظاهرة “النينيو” في إفريقيا والإعصارين المدارين “شابالا” “وميغ” في شبه الجزيرة العربية والقرن الإفريقي.

وقال الخبير كيث كريسمن، كبير أخصائيي تنبؤات الجراد لدى المنظمة إن الظواهر الجوية المتطرفة، بما في ذلك الأمطار الغزيرة لديها القدرة على إحداث طفرة هائلة في تزايد الجراد، حيث يوفر المطر تربة رطبة لوضع بويضات الجراد، التي تحتاج بدورها إلى امتصاص الماء في حين تساعد الأمطار على نمو النباتات كغذاء ومأوى.

وتقول المنظمة إن تغير المناخ يؤدي اليوم إلى تبدلات في حالة الطقس لا يمكن التنبؤ بها، كما يفرض تطرف الأحوال المناخية تحديات مستجدة بالنسبة لكيفية مراقبة النشاط الجرادي.

وتقوم المنظمة بتحليل المعلومات حول الجراد الصحراوي بانتظام، إلى جانب معطيات الطقس، والمواطن البيئية، وصور الأقمار الصناعية بهدف تحديث مسوح الجراد، وإصدار تنبؤات تغطي فترات تصل إلى ستة أسابيع مسبقاً.

As Yemen crisis deteriorates, UNICEF says children at increasing risk of disease, hunger

A child gets vaccinated for polio at Al-Olufi Health Center, downtown Sanaa. Yemen presently has vaccines for nearly 5 million children under 5 (Polio) and 250,000 children under 15 (measles) in conflict-affected areas. There is a risk that these may get damaged if the cold rooms that store the vaccines stop working because of shortage of fuel in the country. Across the country, much needed basic services have been largely paralyzed as fuel, water and food resources run out.

A child gets vaccinated for polio at Al-Olufi Health Center, downtown Sanaa. Yemen presently has vaccines for nearly 5 million children under 5 (Polio) and 250,000 children under 15 (measles) in conflict-affected areas. There is a risk that these may get damaged if the cold rooms that store the vaccines stop working because of shortage of fuel in the country. Across the country, much needed basic services have been largely paralyzed as fuel, water and food resources run out.

30 June 2015

The ongoing conflict in Yemen is having a devastating impact on the country’s health system and has exposed millions of children to the threat of preventable diseases, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned.

Addressing a press briefing in Geneva earlier today, UNICEF spokesperson Christophe Boulierac said that millions of children in the war-torn Gulf state are at risk of disease amid widespread interruptions in vaccination services.

While shortages in electricity and fuel are impacting health centres’ ability to provide children with critical services, many parents were also too frightened by the sharp escalation in fighting to take their children to receive vaccinations. The result, he said, is that an estimated 2.6 million children under the age of 15 are now at risk of contracting measles – a potentially fatal disease spread rapidly in times of conflict and population displacement.

At the same time, Mr. Boulierac cautioned that the number of children exposed to Acute Respiratory Infections is also likely to surge to 1.3 million due to the lack of vaccinations while over 2.5 million children remain at risk of diarrhoea due to the unavailability of safe water, poor sanitary conditions and lack of access to Oral Rehydration Salt, compared to 1.5 million prior to the conflict.

The humanitarian stresses brought on by Yemen’s conflict have only compounded the already severe human toll of the fighting. The UN has reported that thousands of people in the country have been killed and injured by airstrikes and ground fighting in the last three months alone while over 1 million people have fled their homes.

Against that backdrop, a recent joint survey released by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP), confirmed that six million people in the country are slipping towards severe hunger and now need emergency food and life-saving assistance, a sharp increase from the last quarter of 2014. In addition to the population facing a food security ’emergency,’ over 6.5 million people are classified as facing a food insecurity security ‘crisis.’

At today’s briefing, the UNICEF spokesperson cited the agency’s estimates that more than half a million children under five years of age are at risk of developing severe and acute malnutrition over the next 12 months if the situation continued to deteriorate.

Nevertheless, he said, in spite of the growing challenges, the UN agency remains on the ground delivering life-saving vaccinations and health services as well as providing crucial assistance through mobile health and nutrition teams.

As Yemen crisis deteriorates, UNICEF says children at increasing risk of disease, hunger

A child gets vaccinated for polio at Al-Olufi Health Center, downtown Sanaa. Yemen presently has vaccines for nearly 5 million children under 5 (Polio) and 250,000 children under 15 (measles) in conflict-affected areas. There is a risk that these may get damaged if the cold rooms that store the vaccines stop working because of shortage of fuel in the country. Across the country, much needed basic services have been largely paralyzed as fuel, water and food resources run out.

A child gets vaccinated for polio at Al-Olufi Health Center, downtown Sanaa. Yemen presently has vaccines for nearly 5 million children under 5 (Polio) and 250,000 children under 15 (measles) in conflict-affected areas. There is a risk that these may get damaged if the cold rooms that store the vaccines stop working because of shortage of fuel in the country. Across the country, much needed basic services have been largely paralyzed as fuel, water and food resources run out.

30 June 2015

The ongoing conflict in Yemen is having a devastating impact on the country’s health system and has exposed millions of children to the threat of preventable diseases, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned.

Addressing a press briefing in Geneva earlier today, UNICEF spokesperson Christophe Boulierac said that millions of children in the war-torn Gulf state are at risk of disease amid widespread interruptions in vaccination services.

While shortages in electricity and fuel are impacting health centres’ ability to provide children with critical services, many parents were also too frightened by the sharp escalation in fighting to take their children to receive vaccinations. The result, he said, is that an estimated 2.6 million children under the age of 15 are now at risk of contracting measles – a potentially fatal disease spread rapidly in times of conflict and population displacement.

At the same time, Mr. Boulierac cautioned that the number of children exposed to Acute Respiratory Infections is also likely to surge to 1.3 million due to the lack of vaccinations while over 2.5 million children remain at risk of diarrhoea due to the unavailability of safe water, poor sanitary conditions and lack of access to Oral Rehydration Salt, compared to 1.5 million prior to the conflict.

The humanitarian stresses brought on by Yemen’s conflict have only compounded the already severe human toll of the fighting. The UN has reported that thousands of people in the country have been killed and injured by airstrikes and ground fighting in the last three months alone while over 1 million people have fled their homes.

Against that backdrop, a recent joint survey released by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP), confirmed that six million people in the country are slipping towards severe hunger and now need emergency food and life-saving assistance, a sharp increase from the last quarter of 2014. In addition to the population facing a food security ’emergency,’ over 6.5 million people are classified as facing a food insecurity security ‘crisis.’

At today’s briefing, the UNICEF spokesperson cited the agency’s estimates that more than half a million children under five years of age are at risk of developing severe and acute malnutrition over the next 12 months if the situation continued to deteriorate.

Nevertheless, he said, in spite of the growing challenges, the UN agency remains on the ground delivering life-saving vaccinations and health services as well as providing crucial assistance through mobile health and nutrition teams.

UN releases emergency funding for relief efforts in crisis-torn Yemen

Emergency aid being offloaded from a UNHCR vessel at the Hodeidah Port, Yemen. Photo: UNHCR/A. Zabarah

Emergency aid being offloaded from a UNHCR vessel at the Hodeidah Port, Yemen. Photo: UNHCR/A. Zabarah

25 June 2015

The United Nations humanitarian arm today announces it will provide a critical injection of emergency funding in order to accelerate relief efforts to war-trapped civilians in Yemen, the Organization has confirmed.

According to an announcement made by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), $25 million will be released from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) in order to support lifesaving projects including the provision of fuel, medicine, emergency supplies, clean water, sanitation services and nutrition programmes to Yemenis in need.

“Innocent civilians in Yemen are paying a terrible price,” said UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien, in a press release. “They face daily airstrikes, shelling and fighting while medical supplies, fuel and food are running out, and basic services have collapsed.”

The humanitarian situation in Yemen has been progressively deteriorating by the day despite ongoing UN-backed efforts to help national stakeholders reach a political solution to the crisis.

The collapse of basic services and extreme shortages of food and fuel have had a devastating impact across the whole country, added Mr. O’Brien during a press conference.

“More than 21 million people – that’s 80 per cent of the population – now need humanitarian assistance. Health facilities report that over 2,800 people have been killed and 13,000 injured since the violence escalated in March. At least 1,400 civilians have lost their lives; these numbers are likely to be significant underestimates.”

According to a recent joint survey released by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP), six million people in Yemen are slipping towards severe hunger and now need emergency food and life-saving assistance, a sharp increase from the last quarter of 2014. In addition to the population facing a food security ’emergency,’ over 6.5 million people are classified as facing a food insecurity security ‘crisis.’

Meanwhile, the study added, 10 out of Yemen’s 22 governorates are now classified as facing food insecurity at ’emergency’ level. Millions more are highly vulnerable and could easily fall into emergency levels unless there is a dramatic improvement in the availability and access to food at prices that most people can afford.

The humanitarian stresses brought on by the conflict, however, have only compounded the already severe human toll of the fighting.

OCHA has noted that thousands of people in the country have been killed and injured by airstrikes and ground fighting in the last three months alone while over 1 million people have fled their homes.

“The parties to this conflict show an utter disregard for human life, repeatedly attacking civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, schools, power stations and water installations,” deplored the Under-Secretary-General.

Finally, the dire situation has also aggravated the country’s health infrastructure as a recent World Health Organization (WHO) analysis reported over 3,000 suspected dengue cases across the country.

UN launches new aid appeal as Yemen faces ‘looming humanitarian catastrophe’

Since March 2015, conflict has wracked the lives of millions of families in Yemen, and there are now close to 13 million people without adequate access to food – 2.3 million more in just 3 months. Photo: OCHA/Charlotte Cans (Sana’a, June 2015)

Since March 2015, conflict has wracked the lives of millions of families in Yemen, and there are now close to 13 million people without adequate access to food – 2.3 million more in just 3 months. Photo: OCHA/Charlotte Cans (Sana’a, June 2015)

The United Nations relief arm has called for over one billion dollars in funding in order to lift Yemen from a devastating crisis that has plunged the country into severe food insecurity and left it on the brink of an all-out humanitarian disaster, the Organization today confirmed, as national stakeholders from the Gulf state wrapped up UN-backed political consultations in Geneva, Switzerland.

Speaking at the launch of the $1.6 billion appeal in Geneva earlier this morning, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien, told delegates that as fighting intensified across Yemen, the country faced “a looming humanitarian catastrophe” with people across the country struggling to feed their families and basic services collapsing in all regions.

“Millions of families no longer have access to clean water, proper sanitation or basic healthcare,” Mr. O’Brien warned. “Deadly diseases such as dengue and malaria have broken out, and supplies for acute trauma care are running dangerously low.”

According to a recent joint survey released by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP), six million people in Yemen are slipping towards severe hunger and now need emergency food and life-saving assistance, a sharp increase from the last quarter of 2014. In addition to the population facing a food security ’emergency,’ over 6.5 million people are classified as facing a food insecurity security ‘crisis.’

Meanwhile, the study added, ten out of Yemen’s 22 governorates are now classified as facing food insecurity at ’emergency’ level. Millions more are highly vulnerable and could easily fall into emergency levels unless there is a dramatic improvement in the availability and access to food at prices that most people can afford.

The humanitarian stresses brought on by the conflict, however, have only compounded the already severe human toll of the fighting.

The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which Mr. O’Brien heads, has noted that thousands of people in the country have been killed and injured by airstrikes and ground fighting in the last three months alone while over 1 million people have fled their homes. In addition, a staggering 80 per cent of the Yemeni population currently need humanitarian assistance.

“The disregard for international humanitarian law by parties to the conflict has come with a high human toll,” Mr. O’Brien continued. “There is also an urgent need for full resumption of commercial imports as reductions have crippled the country, putting millions at risk.”

OCHA’s new appeal – a revision of its 2015 Humanitarian Response Plan – will seek to deliver essential protection and lifesaving assistance, including food, water and shelter, to Yemen’s most vulnerable, or an estimated 11.7 million people.

“While this plan allows us to relieve the dire human suffering in Yemen, it alone is not enough to end the living nightmare faced by so many families,” the OCHA chief concluded. “Only a political solution to the Yemen crisis can end the unacceptable and intolerable level of suffering.”

To that point, Yemeni stakeholders convened this week in Geneva to attend UN-facilitated consultationsaimed at finding a peaceful way out of the conflict.

Addressing reporters at a press briefing this afternoon to mark their conclusion, the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, explained, however, that the consultations were “not an end in themselves but the launch of a long and arduous path.”

Nevertheless, he said, there was optimism that specific goals, including the imposition of a humanitarian ceasefire, could be achieved.

“There has been positivity in responding to the invitation, coming to Geneva, responding to the UN Security Council resolution and the ceasefire accompanied by a withdrawal so there are things on which we can build,” continued Mr. Ould Cheikh Ahmed.

“We don’t want to hold another meeting. We thought it would be better now to get back to shuttle diplomacy,” he added. “The humanitarian situation cannot wait anymore. It must be dealt with urgently. That’s why we need a humanitarian pause – that’s the priority.”

New Study Finds Millions of People in Yemen Slipping into Hunger

Sana’a – A new study released today by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation in Yemen (MoPIC), on behalf of other technical partners, found that at least 6 million people in Yemen are severely food insecure and are in urgent need of emergency food and life-saving assistance – a sharp increase from the last quarter of 2014.

The results of the study follow weeks of information-gathering and analysis by UN agencies and NGOs under the leadership of MoPic’s Food Security Technical Secretariat. The analysis used the globally recognized Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC). The analysis was facilitated with funding from the European Union.

According to the Indicative IPC Analysis, ten out of Yemen’s 22 governorates are now classified as facing food insecurity at ‘Emergency’ level. Governorates at the ‘Emergency’ levels of food insecurity are: Saa’da, Aden, Abyan, Shabwa, Hajjah, Hodeidah, Taiz, Lahj, Al Dhale’e, and Al Baida.

Millions more are highly vulnerable to food insecurity and could easily fall into the emergency level unless there is a dramatic improvement in the availability and access to food at prices that most people can afford.

“We are seeing a serious and sharp deterioration of the food security situation because of the ongoing conflict, which is also making humanitarian access difficult”, said Salah El Hajj Hassan, FAO’s Yemen Representative. “In addition to the population facing food security Emergency, another over 6.5 million people are classified as facing a food insecurity security “Crisis”. Unless access to the affected population is guaranteed to provide humanitarian assistance, further deterioration of the situation is very likely”, added the FAO Representative. He also thanked the European Union for funding the Food Security Information Systems (FSIS) programme, which has enabled the study – a programme that is jointly implemented by FAO and the Food Security Technical Secretariat of the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation.

The intensified conflict has created a scarcity of staple foods and other essential commodities, disrupting livelihoods, markets, agriculture and fisheries, import, export and commercial activities, among others. This has resulted in a serious reduction in people’s incomes as well as difficulty in accessing basic staple foods. Although the entire country is facing the effects of the conflict, it is the poorest households, internally displaced, unskilled labourers, and marginalized groups, who are most affected.

“With the fluidity of the situation and until a political solution is in place, we will continue to see an increase in the number of people struggling to feed themselves and their families and further deterioration in food security across Yemen,” said Purnima Kashyap, WFP Representative and Country Director. “We appeal to all parties to ensure unrestricted access for the delivery of humanitarian assistance to affected people.”

The Vice Minister of MoPIC who led the launch of the June 2015 IPC results said: “Yemen is currently facing serious political and food security difficulties, which is having far-reaching impacts on people’s lives and livelihoods. Multi-agency analyses like the current IPC play an important role in helping decision-makers understand the nature and magnitude of the problem that the population is facing.”

The IPC analysis process brought together available food security information in a systematic manner to produce the best possible estimate of the current situation. “It is commendable that this exercise took place with full participation of the national IPC Technical Working Group, which includes all partners under the leadership of the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, despite an extremely difficult situation on the ground. We are indeed very grateful to all the government and non-government partners who participated in this critical exercise,” said the Vice Minister. He also thanked the EU for providing funding for the study.

The IPC analysis, an evidence based analysis process using international standards, also underwent a rigorous real-time external quality review conducted by the global multi-partner IPC Global Support Unit (IPC GSU). “The quality review concluded that the analyses made the best use of available evidence to infer the current situation. The IPC Phase Classifications are plausible and cleared as an Indicative IPC Analysis. The findings are invaluable for response planning”, said Ms. Cindy Holleman the IPC Global Programme Manager.

For further information, please contact:

Salah ElHajj Hassan,
FAO Representative, Yemen,
Salah.elhajjhassan@fao.org
Tel. +967 432 681 /2

Abeer Etefa
WFP Regional Spokesperson,
e-mail: abeer.etefa@wfp.org
Tel: +201066634352