UN warns of catastrophic hunger in Yemen
During a UN pledging conference, officials confirm that a seismic hunger crisis in Yemen is looming if no solutions were adopted.
Yemen must not become a forgotten crisis behind Ukraine, organizers of Wednesday's UN pledging conference said, warning of catastrophic hunger if donations were not forthcoming.
"Basic services are collapsing"
UN humanitarian Chief Martin Griffiths told reporters, "Today we are meeting to plug a huge gap in funding for the life-saving response."
He pointed out that "the war is in its seventh year and counting. The economy lies in ruins. Basic services are collapsing."
Griffiths highlighted that "this year's response needs nearly $4.3 billion to help over 17 million people across Yemen."
"We do not forget them"
As funding had been drying up since late last year, aid agencies were being forced to cut back or stop food and health services, he noted.
"Today we hope to raise the money to replenish the food pipeline, stock up health clinics and provide shelter to the displaced," expressed the UN humanitarian chief.
He also claimed that the conference was "to send a message to the people in Yemen that we do not forget them."
Impacts of Ukraine situation on Yemen
Griffith warned that the current situation in Ukraine would have far-reaching secondary impacts.
It will "surely harm the lives of many Yemenis," he said, given that the country depends almost entirely on food imports, with nearly a third of its wheat supplies coming from Ukraine.
Out of 31.9 million people in Yemen, 23.4 million were in need of humanitarian assistance, of which 12.9 million were in acute need, underlined the UN.
Catastrophic hunger if Ukraine crisis pushed up food prices
The World Food Programme (WFP) underscored that the levels of hunger could become catastrophic if the Ukraine crisis pushed up food prices.
Wednesday's pledging event is being co-hosted by the UN humanitarian agency, Switzerland, and Sweden.
"As of course Ukraine keeps us very much busy and is a huge concern, it is crucial that no other crisis becomes a forgotten crisis," said Manuel Bessler, Switzerland's humanitarian aid chief.
Take food from the hungry to feed the starving
In a joint statement, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the WFP, and the UNICEF children's agency made clear that the humanitarian situation is poised to worsen between June and December.
"Yemen's already dire hunger crisis is teetering on the edge of outright catastrophe, with 17.4 million people now in need of food assistance and a growing portion of the population coping with emergency levels of hunger," the three UN agencies warned.
WFP said the number of people needing food assistance had increased by 1.2 million over the past year - and is forecast to reach 19 million people in the second half of 2022.
"We are looking at a seismic hunger crisis if we do not step up now," stressed WFP Executive Director David Beasley.
"Funding for Yemen has never reached this point. We have no choice but to take food from the hungry to feed the starving," he added.