News Room /
World Food Day comes as millions face food insecurity in Yemen
16 October 2012
16 October is World Food Day
"The United Nations estimates that over 870 million people across the
world are suffering from chronic malnutrition"
October 16 is World Food Day, an international day aimed at raising awareness of the problem of global hunger. It comes this year as millions of people in Yemen continue to face widespread hunger and chronic malnutrition.
The United Nations estimates that over 870 million people across the world are suffering from chronic malnutrition, with the vast majority - 852 million - living in developing countries in Asia and Africa. The United Nations warns that immediate action is needed to tackle hunger in developing countries before it is too late.
For Yemen, food insecurity is not just a short-term crisis. Before the current crisis, a third of Yemenis – 7.5 million people – did not have enough to eat. A severe drought, coupled with recent internal conflicts, have led to the humanitarian crisis deteriorating in Yemen. If left unaddressed, the situation in Yemen could become highly critical in what remains of this year and particularly in 2013, where the coping mechanisms of people become weaker.
Severe food insecurity doubled over the last two years to 44% of the population. Over ten million people are food-insecure, of whom five million are now severely food-insecure and need immediate life-saving assistance. Some children are facing some of the world’s worst malnutrition. As a result, children are being taken out of school to work.
To make matters worse, Yemen is host to approximately 220,000 refugees, fleeing from internal conflicts in neighbouring countries. Half a million people in southern Yemen have fled their homes in search of security. 90% of them now live in makeshift camps or are occupying schools, depriving thousands of children from basic education. These displaced people, especially children, are also at risk of contracting cholera, measles, and lung infections due to poor hygiene, overcrowding and unhygienic water supplies. Polio virus incidents are increasing due to low vaccination coverage. The situation is severe and not enough aid is being directed to or is reaching Yemen.
The international community needs to learn from the lessons of the Horn of Africa where a delayed response resulted in the death and morbidity of thousands of people. The time to act is now.
Islamic Relief is on the ground in Yemen distributing emergency aid and reaching over 1.2 million Yemenis but much more is needed in order to avert a much bigger crisis, including famine.
Islamic relief urgently needs additional funding of anywhere between $5-8 million to expand its food distribution as well as food security operations in Yemen.