Yemen: Prolonged conflict and economic crisis are the source of a severe food crisis and widespread malnutrition among children

Yemen: Prolonged conflict and economic crisis are the source of a severe food crisis and widespread malnutrition among children

ROME - The food security situation in districts of Yemen under the control of the Yemeni government improved slightly during the first five months of this year, but acute malnutrition has increased compared to the same period in 2022. Non-governmental organizations and agencies fear of the United Nations engaged in Yemen is that even the slight improvements seen so far will be lost by the end of 2023 if efforts to tackle food insecurity are not stepped up.

Food insecurity. In a new analysis published today, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) They warned that despite the slight improvements, nearly all districts under Yemen's government control are highly food insecure. Yemen remains one of the most food insecure countries globally, mainly due to the effects of conflict and economic decline, the three UN agencies added.

Hunger numbers. The report shows that between January and May 2023, some 3.2 million people experienced high levels of acute food insecurity in government-administered areas of Yemen, a 23 percent reduction from the December 2022 estimates. people experiencing a condition of emergency, on the other hand, it has almost halved compared to the data for the last quarter of 2022. But don't be fooled, warn the United Nations: the temporary respite from acute hunger is destined to end if action is not taken on factors leading to food insecurity.

The price increase. The situation could also worsen due to a 20 percent reduction in the levels of humanitarian food assistance and the expected increase in prices. Although in recent times the political climate has calmed down, unfortunately improvements in the country are still precarious and therefore fighting, even sporadic, could break out again in some districts and undo the progress made so far.

acute malnutrition. It is getting worse in the south of the country and heralds alarming data. According to UN forecasts, half a million children will be severely malnourished by 2023. Up to a quarter of a million pregnant and lactating women will suffer the consequences of acute hunger and as a result child stunting levels, which are already very high, are likely to rise further: from 35.9 per cent in the lowlands of Abyan to 64.3 percent in the southern plain of Hodeida.

The work of FAO and WFP. The organizations are committed to working directly with farmers in the field to enable them to consolidate their livelihoods. Their commitment aims to improve food security and household income by strengthening agricultural production practices, increasing job opportunities and diversifying livelihoods in a sustainable way that favors peaceful coexistence.

The work of UNICEF. UNICEF reached about 420,000 severely and acutely malnourished children with life-saving interventions in 2022. This is the highest figure ever reached in Yemen. Despite this, levels of malnutrition remain critical in many areas of the southern governorates. As a result, the organization is working to improve primary health care, including early diagnosis and treatment of severe acute malnutrition.

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