© UNICEF/Ahmed Al-Basha Three sisters walk to their school close to a fighting zone in Taizz, Yemen, February 2021.
From the UN News
15 March 2022 | Peace and Security
After more than seven years of war, Yemen is living in a chronic state of emergency, marked by hunger, disease and other miseries that are rising faster than aid agencies can reverse, UN relief chief Martin Griffiths told the Security Council on Tuesday, as the Special Envoy for the country called for joint efforts by Yemenis and the international community to break the entrenched cycle of violence.
Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mr. Griffiths, cited grave risks for inertia and fatigue in attenuating the severe conditions in Yemen, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine provokes new shocks and international outrage.
“We must not give in to those forces,” he insisted. He drew attention to Wednesday’s high-level pledging event to alleviate the suffering of the traumatized Yemeni people, with aid agencies seeking nearly $4.3 billion to help 17 million in 2022 alone.
New nationwide assessments confirm that 23.4 million people now need assistance – about three of every four people. Among them are 19 million people who will go hungry in the coming months – an increase of almost 20 per cent from 2021 – while more than 160,000 of them will face famine-like conditions.
Noting that Yemen relies on commercial imports for 90 per cent of its food and nearly all its fuel, he said one third of its wheat comes from Russia and Ukraine, where the conflict sparked on 24 February may push food prices, which already doubled last year, even higher.
‘Taking food from the hungry to feed the starving’
“We are looking at a seismic hunger crisis if we do not step up now,” World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director David Beasely stressed in a statement on the eve of the high-level pledging event.
Without immediate funds, hungry people will lose assistance right at the time they need it most. The number of people in need of food is forecast to reach 19 million in the second half of the year, without fresh funds, according to the latest Integrated Phase Classification.
“Funding for Yemen has never reached this point,” he warned. “We have no choice but to take food from the hungry to feed the starving.”