Yemen Food Security Outlook Update, January 2016
In the absence of improved humanitarian access, food consumption gaps are expected to continue in the city of Ta'izz
Improving food and fuel import levels from international markets have contributed to declining prices during the past two months at some markets. For example, in the city of Sana’a, December retail wheat prices declined 27 percent compared to November levels and were relatively similar to March 2015, pre-conflict levels. However, despite these declining food prices, household purchasing power, particularly amongst the poor and IDP populations, remains limited due to below-average household incomes.
Fuel imports and prices remain volatile due to the ongoing conflict. Although black market fuel prices fell by rough half in December 2015 compared to the previous month’s levels, they still remain well above pre-crisis levels. This is driving high transportation costs and food prices in rural areas of the country.
Between August and October, UNICEF and the Yemen Ministry of Public Health conducted SMART surveys in Aden, Al-Hodeidah, Hajjah, Lahji, and Al-Bayda. Although the prevalences of global acute malnutrition (GAM) amongst children 6-59 months of age, measured by a weight-for-height z-score <-2 and/or the presence of edema, were found to be similar to previous years’ levels, they still exceeded the WHO’s critical threshold (>15 percent) in Aden (19.2 percent), Al-Hodeidah (31.0 percent in lowland areas), Hajjah (20.9 percent in lowland areas), and Lahji (20.5 percent in lowland areas). To save lives, assistance to treat and prevent acute malnutrition is urgently needed in these areas.
Amongst those trapped in active conflict areas of Ta’izz Governorate, Emergency (IPC Phase 4) food security outcomes are occurring at this time. In the city of Ta’izz, the humanitarian situation remains serious as the siege continues to hamper full humanitarian access, restrict physical/financial access to food on local markets, and disrupt household livelihoods. Despite some assistance provided during the past three months, food consumption gaps are expected to continue in Ta’izz in the absence of improved access and an expanded humanitarian response.