The UN body announces aid cutbacks due to global inflation and the effects of the war in Ukraine. There is enough only for 1.8 million people. International donors have guaranteed only a quarter of the US$ two billion needed. Wheat stocks will be depleted by mid-July.
Sana'a (AsiaNews) – The World Food Programme (WFP) is reducing aid to Yemen, a country marked by years of conflict, war and a devastating economic crisis with millions of people at risk of hunger.
In a statement released yesterday, the UN agency, which is the largest humanitarian organisation in the world, announced that it was forced to cut back due to a financial shortfall, global inflation and the knock-on effects of the war in Ukraine.
Every month the WFP provides food and assistance to about 13 million people in Yemen, a country of some 30 million people, left prostrate by seven years of war, forced to import most of its food because of lack of domestic resources and reserves.
“We are now being driven to scale back [. . .] support for 5 million [. . .] people to less than 50% of the daily requirement, and for the other 8 million to around 25% of the daily requirement,” reads the WFP press release.
Thus, “Resilience and livelihood activities, and school feeding and nutrition programs, will cease for 4 million people, leaving assistance available for only 1.8 million people."
Since January, WFP has had to cut aid for eight million people and had warned, last month, that it would make further cuts after raising only a quarter of the US$ two billion needed.
The lack of funding will eventually drive about seven million people into near-famine conditions in the second half of 2022, up from the current five million.
Disruptions in global grain supplies linked to the war in Ukraine and the Indian government's ban on grain exports are likely to exacerbate the food crisis in Yemen even further, boosting inflation, which has already doubled in just two years.
The planning minister of Yemen’s Saudi-backed and internationally recognised government warns that wheat stocks could run out by mid-July.
In view of the situation, he urged Western governments, including the United States and the European Union, to find new markets to replace Russian and Ukrainian wheat.
Yemeni traders are also struggling to import flour, rice, sugar and petroleum products due to high prices, said Abu Baker Baobaid, vice-chairman of the Federation of Yemen Chamber of Commerce and Industry, speaking to Reuters.