Food has doubled in price and fuel has quadrupled in some areas as basic commodities run dangerously low in Yemen, warns Oxfam. Wheat which was selling last week for around US$0.50 per kilogramme in Hodeidah has risen to US$1.10 in some markets in the city as prices become increasingly volatile. Diesel fuel, which has an official subsidised price of US$0.70 per litre, is now being sold on the black market for as much as US$2.80 per litre – and is becoming more and more difficult to find. Diesel, specifically, is a lifeline in Yemen, not only for the transportation and distribution of food, but also for the pumping of water for irrigation, drinking and washing. In Aden fuel scarcity has paralysed local water projects, cutting off water to entire communities.
Grace Ommer, Oxfam country director in Yemen, said: “The current escalation in violence is placing increased pressure on the lives of more than 16 million Yemenis who already need aid. But, humanitarian access to most of the people in need of basic support remains too difficult because of the conflict.
“This conflict is tearing Yemen apart. Oxfam is calling on all parties to the conflict in Yemen to bring an immediate end to the violence and allow for regular imports of food and fuel to begin again.”
In response to the current conflict, Oxfam has already distributed cash to more 4,000 households (about 28,000 people) to help them buy basic necessities. Oxfam has also delivered water containers and filters to the Hodeidah area and is sending in trucks of clean water to vulnerable districts. Oxfam plans to provide help to 80,000 people in the coming weeks, and build up to a total of about 1 million people, as access improves.
Regular imports of food and fuel have not reached Yemen since the escalation in violence began two weeks ago, due to the closure of land, sea and air routes into the country. Yemen relies on imports to meet more than 80 per cent of national food consumption, with 90 per cent of staple food items, such as wheat, and all rice imported.
Before this latest escalation in the conflict, more than 10 million Yemenis – almost half the population – were already going hungry every day. The absence of imports is now pushing food and fuel prices out of reach of even more people. Oxfam has been working in Yemen for 30 years.
Notes to Editors
· Local spokespeople in Sanaa, Hodeidah and Aden
· Grant Pritchard, Acting Country Director for Oxfam in Yemen (temporarily in Amman).
For more information contact Christina Corbett on +44 (0) 7557 483758 (CCorbett@oxfam.org.uk)
or Attila Kulcsar on +44 (0)7810181514 (email@example.com)