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The human toll of the conflict in Yemen, now entering its seventh year, is considerable: 233,000 people have died – more than half of them from indirect causes such as lack of food or healthcare.
For four years, Yemen has been the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, and now a new food crisis has driven the country to the brink of famine. Action contre la Faim calls on the international community to fund humanitarian operations to match increasingly urgent needs, to facilitate unimpeded humanitarian access, and to protect civilians from hunger caused by the conflict.
The war in Yemen intensified in 2020, leaving the country depleted and trapping thousands of civilians in yet another year of endless conflict and successive waves of violence. More than 80% of Yemenis live below the poverty line and at least 20 million people need humanitarian assistance to survive. Millions of people have been denied access to adequate medical care, employment, and clean water.
In these terrible conditions, food insecurity and malnutrition are major threats. More than 16 million Yemenis are hungry, and 400,000 children under age five are at risk of dying from severe acute malnutrition this year if they do not receive urgent treatment. Contributing to the crisis is the maritime blockade, which prevents humanitarian aid, commercial goods, and other basic necessities from entering the country and reaching communities in need quickly.
""In Yemen, children are literally starving. Rich countries are drastically reducing their contributions to humanitarian aid, and it is not reaching those who need it most."
« We are in a drastic situation that gets a little closer to famine each day, », Pierre Micheletti, President of Action contre la Faim.
Yemen’s economy has experienced a dramatic slowdown in recent months. The country is 90% dependent on imports of wheat and other basic food items, while the value of Yemeni Rial has fallen by 250% from its pre-conflict value. Even where it is available in the markets, food, water and basic necessities are simply unaffordable for many families, who have to pay 140% higher prices compared to before the war.
“My son buys bottles of drinking water for 150 YER* and sells just one at 200 YER to feed our family of six. He stays all day from morning to sunset on the road, asking the passengers of each car to buy his water,” says a man from the governorate of Hodeida. His grandson received health and nutrition support from Action contre la Faim.
To date, international donors have contributed just 10% of the $3.85 billion needed to conduct humanitarian operations in Yemen in 2021. Budget cuts will worsen the suffering of Yemenis. To break the vicious cycle of conflict and hunger in Yemen, Action contre la Faim calls for new humanitarian financing, facilitated imports of essential goods to the population, and greater respect for international humanitarian law by the parties to the conflict.
*In September, the exchange rate in southern Yemen was 844.09 YER /$1. In February, it stood at 863.72 YER.
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