Yemen Food Security Outlook Update December 2019
High levels of conflict continue to disrupt livelihoods and restrict access to income, with prices of food and non-food commodities substantially higher than pre-conflict levels. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are widespread, with approximately 17 million people in urgent need of humanitarian food assistance. As of late November, humanitarian actors report continued and even increased difficulties operating in Houthi-controlled areas.
Food and fuel import levels were above average in November. However, the 2 million USD Saudi deposit used to back food imports is expected to be depleted in January 2020. As a result, the Saudis have reportedly stopped approving letter of credit applications for food imports. In the absence of additional foreign assistance, it is likely that the Yemeni Rial will begin to depreciate in early 2020, with elevated food prices expected in subsequent months.
High levels of conflict continue in Al Hudaydah, Sa’dah, Al Dali’, and Ta’izz. In Hajjah, a marked decline in violence has been maintained throughout November and early December. Meanwhile, conflict has escalated in Aden alongside challenges in the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement. In November, most recorded new displacements occurred due to violence in Al Dali’, Ta’izz, Al Hudaydah, and Ma’rib.
A risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) persists in Yemen. Famine is possible in the event that conflict significantly disrupts port operations – thereby limiting the country’s capacity to import food – or otherwise restricts food supply to particular areas for a prolonged period of time.
Conflict in Yemen continues to displace households, disrupt livelihoods, and restrict access to income for many people. While some agricultural areas are currently harvesting cereals and fruits, agricultural production is below average overall due to declining incentives for agricultural production as well as some localized damage from locusts. Nationally, the importance of agricultural production to the food supply continues to decrease. Meanwhile, prices of food and essential non-food commodities remain significantly elevated compared to pre-conflict levels. In this environment of reduced access to income and diminished purchasing power, the majority of Yemenis are unable to meet their food and essential non-food needs. It is expected that many households in worst-affected areas face large consumption gaps, and malnutrition remain a serious concern in many areas. Hajjah and Sa’dah continue to face Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes. In the rest of the country, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are widespread, with worse outcomes likely in areas where conflict frequently restricts humanitarian access, such as parts of southern Al Hudaydah.