The United Nations said this Friday in a new report that despite food security has slightly improved in Yemen, it is still a daily challenge for war-stricken Yemenis.
As hopes for a peace agreement in Yemen have been rising in recent months, this hasn’t had any effects on alleviating the hunger problem in the war-stricken country and, as a UN recent report says, Yemeni people are still greatly suffering from malnutrition.
In the new report released this Friday, David Gressly, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen acknowledged that “The United Nations and its partners made strides in rolling back the worst food insecurity last year, but these gains remain fragile, and 17 million people are still food insecure in Yemen,”
Gressly also noted that although the food security situation in Yemen’s government-controlled districts “slightly improved” during the first five months of this year, acute malnutrition is still on the rise”. This worrying situation regarding food security in Yemen, Gressly believes, indicates a “need for more funding” to fight extreme hunger in the country that has been at intense war for eight years.
The new UN report also showed that between January and May 2023, about 3.2 million people experienced high levels of acute food insecurity in government-controlled areas, representing a 23 percent reduction from the period between October and December 2022.
During the June to December 2023 period, the report estimated that the number of people likely to experience high levels of acute food insecurity could increase to 3.9 million, out of which 2.8 million people are projected to reach crisis levels of hunger.
Data from the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) from 2022 also show that around 420,000 children in Yemen are suffering from severe and acute malnutrition with life-saving interventions. Regarding the death toll out of hunger in Yemen, the United Nations recorded 163,000 deaths in December 2022, due to a lack of food, health services, and clean water, most of which was out of hunger.
Why is hunger so dominant in Yemen?
Ever since the civil war in Yemen erupted back in late 2014, Yemeni people have been grappling with the side effects of war. And the most obvious and painful product of the unease in Yemen is still the hunger that Yemenis have to face almost every day.
In other words, Yemen remains one of the most food-insecure countries globally, and the reason is, for the most part, because of the impacts of the crippling sanctions that the Saudi-led coalition has imposed on Yemen.
To read between the lines, the naval blockade imposed on Yemen by the coalition has substantially contributed to pushing Yemeni civilians into starvation, a move that according to the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT), can very well be considered a clear example of torture against the people of Yemen.
During recent months, especially after the historic deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia in March this year, hopes increased that there will be an end to the war in Yemen in the very near future. However, the people of Yemen have not seen any signs of improvement in their situation, especially regarding food security, and hunger is still stalking millions in this country.
What is even more worrying, however, is that as the UN new report noted, “the situation could worsen if nothing is done to address the key drivers of food insecurity in Yemen”.