News / Middle East

Yemen Battles Hunger While Struggling with Multiple Crises

A woman holds her malnourished child at a feeding center at al-Sabyeen hospital in Yemen's capital, Sanaa, June 20, 2012.A woman holds her malnourished child at a feeding center at al-Sabyeen hospital in Yemen's capital, Sanaa, June 20, 2012.
x
A woman holds her malnourished child at a feeding center at al-Sabyeen hospital in Yemen's capital, Sanaa, June 20, 2012.
A woman holds her malnourished child at a feeding center at al-Sabyeen hospital in Yemen's capital, Sanaa, June 20, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
Patrick deHahn
Tucked away in the corner of the Arabian Peninsula and somewhat obscured by surrounding Persian Gulf countries, Yemen is struggling with multiple crises: If an ongoing uprising and endless clashes between Yemen’s security forces and al-Qaida militants weren’t enough of a challenge for the impoverished nation, nearly half of Yemen’s people are going hungry, with many facing the danger of starvation.

The World Food Program (WFP) estimates that nearly 10 million Yemenis are “food insecure.” They fall into two categories - five million are classified as “severely food insecure,” that is, those who are unable to buy or grow food themselves, and another five million who are “moderately food insecure,” that is, they are at risk of going without food due to rising food prices and the ongoing civil conflict. Combined, they account for 44.5 percent of Yemen’s population of close to 25 million.

Children are particularly vulnerable. The WFP reports that half of Yemen's children are chronically malnourished and that one out of ten does not live to reach the age of five.
The picture is one of a country on the brink of a disastrous and rapid decline into humanitarian crisis.

Such emergency levels of chronic malnutrition, according to the WFP, are second globally only to Afghanistan. In its assessment of the situation, the organization characterizes “the picture [as] one of a country on the brink of a disastrous and rapid decline into humanitarian crisis.”

Compounding the problem is a lack of sufficient water and sanitation. Geert Cappelaere, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) country representative for Yemen, says that half the Yemeni population doesn’t have access to clean water supplies or adequate sanitation.

“The situation is worsening,” Cappelaere told VOA, “a third of Yemen’s water supplies are not working, as a result of long-term depletion of water resources, drought, poor electricity supplies and disruption of water points, stemming from the continued conflict and lack of maintenance.”

Cappeleare pointed out that UNICEF has set up feeding centers and is working to improve water sources.  It has also trained community volunteers to work with Yemen’s hungry. The United Nations World Food Program has committed $207 million for food projects in the country, but Cappelaere said this was not enough and that more international aid is severely needed.

A man carries food aid provided by the Red Crescent Society in Sanaa July 2, 2012.A man carries food aid provided by the Red Crescent Society in Sanaa July 2, 2012.
x
A man carries food aid provided by the Red Crescent Society in Sanaa July 2, 2012.
A man carries food aid provided by the Red Crescent Society in Sanaa July 2, 2012.
Getting aid to the hungry

Care International, International Medical Corps, Islamic Relief, Mercy Corps, Merlin, Oxfam and Save the Children have joined together to form a coalition to combat Yemen’s massive hunger problem through a coordinated aid effort for the country.
Jerry Farrell, Save the Children’s country director for Yemen, told VOA that there is a difference between a food crisis and hunger.

“This is not a food crisis. There is plenty of food in the markets, with the exception of Abyan, the scene of recent fighting,” Farrell said. The problem is that people either lack the money to buy food or are unable to travel to markets.

In order to avoid undermining local markets, Save the Children and other organizations in the coalition are distributing food vouchers or cash to needy families.

Farrell said aid organizations face tremendous challenges in Yemen. First, donor funding doesn’t come close to matching Yemen’s needs and the monies that are available don’t reach the country fast enough. “Donor funding is too slow,” he said. “What should take weeks takes months in terms of the approval and funding process.” In some areas, he added, access is limited or cut off altogether. 

Farrell believes that the key to these challenges lies in communication: “There is very limited, accurate information about the needs in Yemen,” he said. “The NGOs wind up conducting their own assessments. This costs time and money, funds that would be better used in developing and implementing humanitarian programs.”

International donors

Aid groups have persuaded individual countries to join in the effort.  The United Arab Emirates has donated $5 million. Saudi Arabia has promised $3.25 billion to help Yemen improve infrastructure and security, which will help the hungry reach marketplaces.  The European Union has contributed $32 million to Yemeni aid efforts, while India has recently offered to donate food assistance consisting of packages of rice.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has recently increased its humanitarian assistance to Yemen. In early June, it allocated an additional $6.5 million, bringing the humanitarian assistance total by the U.S. to $80 million in 2012.

You May Like

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Egyptian Court Jails 23 Pro-Morsi Supporters

Meanwhile, Egyptian officials say gunmen have killed two members of the country's security forces More

Pakistani Journalists Protest Shooting of Colleague

Hamid Mir, a host for private television channel Geo, was wounded after being shot three times Saturday, but is expected to survive More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ali from: dc
August 01, 2012 10:36 PM
Yemenis love qat, a leafy plant,chewed for recreation.They waste their time,land and water in this addiction.


by: david lulasa from: tambua,gimarakwa,hamisi,v
July 31, 2012 5:13 AM
if 2012 ramadhan rituals are not going to be dedicated to syrians and yemenis,then the fast in neighbouring muslim countries will be another sham.


by: alfredo
July 30, 2012 12:02 PM
susan is right-it has alot to do with islam,a failed political and religious order that rules and forces people to deal with situations as they did a thousand years ago.they are forced not to evolve and as such suffer as much of the human race did-A LONG TIME AGO.i know that if i did not have enough food for myself or my present family,i would not produce more children-unless someone else felt obligated to feed them,absolving me of my responsibility,then i could have more babies,and if they starve,hey it's not my fault the rest of the world won't feed them!


by: Lady H from: USA
July 30, 2012 8:21 AM
A WORK IN PROGRESS brought to you by the MASTERS of Corporate Globalization. So far, well played.


by: nashwan hasan almofrsik from: sana'a yemen
July 30, 2012 6:59 AM
Thanks for all those who help yemen to get out of this crisis , the yemeni people want to live like the other nations >
I hope that yemenies not to depend on these assistance always and make his food by them self and the international community must help yemen in this field .
thanks once again for them .

In Response

by: Mort from: Jiangxi,China
August 09, 2012 7:17 PM
I'm so sorry to hear that your country is suffering a hunger crisis.
I am deeply touched.I'm ashamed of wasting food.
I want to help them, poor children.
But I do not have any access.
God bless children,and God bless Yemen.

In Response

by: Nanush
July 30, 2012 10:01 AM
Whatever water there is, is wasted on growing ghat, a semi narcotic leaf that all the Yemini men chew on. Give them more water - they will just grow more ghat. The same as in Somalia.

Give them more cash? They will just buy another 11 year old bride/servant. Nothing will change, until Yemen stops using it's collective penis as its organ of thought, and starts using its brain


by: Susan from: UK
July 29, 2012 1:34 PM
Massacre... Starvation... Degradation... Islam...

In Response

by: cloudyaojing from: china
July 30, 2012 4:07 AM
well, you cannot say that it is because of islam. that is simply despise.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid