10 million Yemenis in need food aid, WFP says

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Published on 25 February 2013 in News

Mohammed Al-Samei (author)

SANA’A, Feb. 24 — More than 10 million residents in Yemen need food aid, half of them urgently, said Abeer Otaifa, spokeswomen of the World Food Program’s (WFP) regional office in the Middle East. Many among those in desperate need of food aid are children, she added.

Otaifa asserted the “malnutrition percentage among children in Yemen is one of the highest percentages of malnutrition worldwide,” citing data from the United Nations Information Center.

Amal Al-Areqi, media and communication officer at Oxfam, told the Yemen Times that the number of Yemenis in need of food aid has doubled from 5 million in 2008 to 10 million at present time.

Al-Areqi added that Yemeni children in Hjja and Hodeida governorates suffer from malnutrition at levels comparable to Somalia.

Mustafa Nasr, head of the Media and Economic Studies Center, said that these malnutrition statistics reflect a catastrophic economic situation in the country, pointing out that it’s not the result of one or two years of bad policy, but a sequence of the failure of all previous governments to move the wheel of development in the most effective way.

He said that the economic situation has worsened during the last two years due to the political paralysis in Yemen.

Yemen has witnessed great turmoil during the 2011 revolution that forced multiple factories to close temporarily and resulted in several acts of sabotage directed at oil pipelines. The petroleum sector is the main tributary of Yemen’s economy.

Nasr asserted the importance of taking the needed procedures to tackle poverty as well as activating the regional and international cooperation. In this regard, he criticized donor countries for being late in providing the grants, estimated at $6 billions, they promised to donate to Yemen during a September 2012 conference held in Riyadh.

In a similar vein, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Dr. Mohammed Al-Sa’di earlier this month made a similar plea to donor countries and organizations to fulfill the promises they made during the September conference.