Yemen Humanitarian Update Covering 1 - 13 December 2018 | Issue 34 [EN/AR]

Situation Report
Originally published


Key Issues

  • Recent IPC analysis indicates that over 20 million face severe food insecurity in Yemen.
  • The upsurge in Yemen’s migrant arrivals exceeds 2018 arrivals to Europe via the Mediterranean Seaw.
  • Polio campaign reaches 4.6 million children, 84 per cent of target.
  • The trend of suspected cholera cases remains stable.


On 7 December, the preliminary results of the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) Food Security Analysis were released, indicating that without humanitarian food assistance over 20 million people in Yemen, representing two thirds of the population, would face severe food insecurity (IPC Phase 3+, that is people in crisis and above on the IPC five phase scale). Alarmingly, for the first time during the conflict in Yemen IPC Phase 5 (people in catastrophe) is observed, meaning that 63,500 people currently in this phase and are barely surviving. However, without large-scale food assistance, the number would be 238 000, three times higher. Only one other country in the world - South Sudan - has people suffering catastrophic food insecurity and even then, the number of people at Phase 5, at 47,000, is much smaller. Overall, 17 per cent of the Yemeni population (about 5 million people) are in IPC Phase 4 (Emergency) and 36 per cent (about 10.8 million people) are in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis).

Ongoing hostilities remain the main driver of worsening food security, IDPs and those hosting them are the most vulnerable. The people most at risk of starvation are in Hajjah, Al Hudaydah, Sa’ada ad Taizz governorates. The economic crisis and resulting high food prices, disrupted livelihoods and high levels of unemployment also affects those not in conflict areas - the cost of the minimum/survival food basket is 150 per cent higher than before the conflict.

As a result, large numbers of households in most districts across the country are forced to engage in negative coping strategies, including reducing the number of meals or size of food portions, consuming less preferred foods and prioritizing children’s consumption. In addition, households have also resorted to practices that will undermine their longer-term food security, such as selling animals and household items.

In response to the situation, WFP is scaling up its food aid operation to target 12 million people per month with food and nutrition assistance next year, up 50 per cent from the 8 million targeted every month this year. The 12 million figure represents 10 million people severely food insecure and 2 million displaced people in acute need.

Food aid alone will not be sufficient to end hunger. To do this, much more is needed. The five priorities to prevent more people sliding into IPC Phase 5 and possible famine are:

  1. Stop attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure;
  2. Allow all imports of food, fuel and medicine;
  3. Provide more foreign exchange and pay civil servants;
  4. Support the scale up of the humanitarian response; and
  5. Support the UN Special Envoy’s efforts to end the conflict.
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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