Monday, April 19, 2010

The possible end of WFP food aid in Yemen

The World Food Programme will soon be no longer able to provide food aid to Yemen. Funding shortages will force the WFP to stop operations there in June. A war and an influx of refuges from Somalia give Yemen over three million hungry people.

The WFP says they need 103 million dollars to continue feeding the people in Yemen. The US has given the WFP some money, but not enough to continue operations for too long. Many donors around the world are afraid to give any aid to Yemen, fearing the aid could support the government of Abdullah Ali Saleh.

From Al Jazerra, writer Hugh McLeod talks more about the future of WFP operations in Yemen.

As the international community focuses on defeating al-Qaeda in Yemen, millions of ordinary people in the country on the south-west tip of the Arabian Peninsula are quietly starving as vital deliveries of UN food aid are severely cut due to a lack of funding.

By the end of June 2010, analysts predict, the WPF will have no food to distribute to Yemen's millions of hungry.

There are fears that this will debilitate the nearly one in three Yemenis - over seven million people - who struggle daily to find enough food to live a healthy and productive life, leading to rates of malnutrition that are the third highest in the world.

A recent survey by the WFP estimated that of those going hungry each day, 2.7mn Yemenis are classified as "severely food insecure" meaning they spend one third of their meagre incomes just on bread.

"They are in a total poverty trap," says Gian Carlo Cirri, thw WFP country director.

"Most of the time they are illiterate, they have no access to land or water. The children are not attending school and the probability of having a malnourished child in the family is extremely high."

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