Famine looming in Yemen again as a growing number of young children die of malnutrition

News and Press Release
Originally published


Yemen remains the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, Food insecurity and malnutrition are the key factors behind the number of people in need. 16.2 million people will go hungry this year (Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Phase 3 or higher), including 5 million are just one step away from being declared a ‘famine’ (IPC Phase 4), including nearly 50,000 thousand people have already faced famine-like conditions (IPC Phase 5) in the first half of 2021.

At least one child dies every ten minutes of malnutrition and diarrhea – roughly 2.25 million children under 5– are enduring acute malnutrition this year. Over and above, more than a million cases of pregnant and lactating women suffer from acute malnutrition in 2021

Malnourished children

Muhammed Zulqarnain, Islamic Relief’s Country Director in Yemen, said: "The country is at a brink of famine. Two-thirds of all Yemenis are Hungry, and nearly half do not know when they will next eat".

“The human-made crisis is literally deepening in Yemen. A poignant story in which a family had to sell the medications received as a humanitarian aid to afford food for their children instead.

Severe hunger therefore has become a daily reality of Children below 5 to have become the first victims-facing the specter of death at such an early age”.

Zulqarnain continues “To detect malnutrition cases among children under-5 years of age, Islamic Relief -Yemen is supporting Ministry of Public Health and populations to provide treatment and preventative nutrition services through 155 health facilities and 489 food distribution points across seven governorates in Yemen. In 2020, 130,000 acutely malnourished children and mothers received urgent treatment through our Targeted Supplementary Feeding Programme for nutrition rehabilitation, while our preventative programme (Blanket Supplementary Feeding Programme) served 305,038 children and mothers”.

“In the meanwhile, our Targeted Supplementary Feeding Programme for nutrition rehabilitation is renewing the hope of 45,718 acutely malnourished children and mothers by the provision of essential treatment, while our preventative programme is still serving 134,594 mothers and children under 2 years with preventative nutrition services”.

With no stability across the country, Yemen’s children and their families will continue to plunge deeper into hunger and malnutrition unless there is a swift action even more necessary, particularly on the economy, humanitarian funding and humanitarian access to stave off the risk of famine**.**

2.7million people – out of a population of – displaced in 2016, since then the number of IDPs has been scaling up to over 4 million due to the protracted conflict.

Muhammed Zulqarnain stated that “In 2020, we continued distributing food and cash/vouchers, reaching over 2.3 million people per month. 42,000 displaced people were provided with (food, hygiene and dignity) through our emergency kits in five governorates (Sana’a, Hodeida, Dhamar, Amran and Raymah), as well as flood-affected populations in three governorates (Sana’a, Dhamar, Amran). Islamic Relief –Yemen provided Covid-19 isolation centers in four governorates (Sana’a, Sa’ada, Al-hudaidah and Dhamar) with emergency masks, gloves and medical equipment to healthcare workers. Despite the ongoing expansion of conflict areas, we continued to reach those most affected with emergency assistance, referring any cases that needed further help”.

Childhood trauma

2507 schools destroyed, damaged or utilized for non-educational purposes, which left 2 million children out of school in Yemen.

Zulqarnain also said" Not only did Islamic Relief -Yemen have alleviate the suffering of 34,300 children in 2020, but also protected and eased their lives through the payments received on a monthly basis to cover their food, education, health and sometimes shelter needs and other projects coping with in Sana’a, Sa’ada, Aden and Taiz governorates”.