SANA’A, December 22, 2021 – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warned today that it is running out of funds to continue to provide food assistance to13 million people in Yemen. From January, eight million will receive a reduced food ration, while five million at immediate risk of slipping into famine conditions will remain on a full ration.

The reductions come at the worst possible time for families in Yemen who are dependent on WFP’s food assistance to survive. In the last three months, inadequate food consumption – one measure of hunger tracked by WFP – has risen rapidly to affect half of all families as currency devaluation and hyper-inflation drives the economy to near collapse. Food prices have more than doubled across much of Yemen this year. Meanwhile, fighting across multiple frontlines continues to force families to flee.

A one-year-old boy eats with his family in a displaced persons camp in Aden, Yemen
A one-year-old boy eats with his family in a displaced persons camp in Aden, Yemen.

“Every time we reduce the amount of food, we know that more people who are already hungry and food insecure will join the ranks of the millions who are starving. But desperate times call for desperate measures and we have to stretch our limited resources and prioritize, focusing on people who are in the most critical state,” said Corinne Fleischer, WFP Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

With food assistance reductions from January, families will receive barely half of WFP’s daily minimum ration. Without new funding, more severe reductions will soon be unavoidable. This could see people cut from food assistance programmes completely. Malnutrition treatment and school feeding for children may also be reduced.

“The Yemeni people are now more vulnerable than ever, reeling from relentless conflict and the deepening economic crisis that has pushed millions into destitution,” said Fleischer. “WFP food stocks in Yemen are running dangerously low at a time when budgets for humanitarian crises around the world are stretched to the limit. We desperately need donors, who were so generous in the past, to work with us to avoid this looming hunger catastrophe.”

Over half the population of Yemen or16.2 million people face acute hunger. Half the children under five (2.3 million) are at risk of malnutrition. WFP needs US$813 million to continue to assist the most vulnerable in Yemen through May. In 2022, WFP needs US$1.97 billion to continue to deliver vital food assistance to families on the brink of famine.