Additional one million children at risk of famine in Yemen, report shows
Any disruption to food and fuel supplies that comes through Hodeidah port could cause starvation on an unprecedented scale, warns Save the Children. The risk of famine comes as food and fuel prices continue to rise around the country. This would bring the total number of children in Yemen at risk of starvation to 5.2 million.
Hodeidah, the fourth largest city in Yemen, is home to a large port that provides 80% of Yemen’s population access to goods and aid. It is Yemen’s principle port on the Red Sea. Fighting in the area has put the port at risk of being damaged or closed, which would reduce the availability of food and drive fuel prices even higher.
The United Nations has warned that failure to keep food, fuel and aid flowing into Yemen, particularly through Hodeidah, could result in one of the worst hunger crises in living history. The depreciation of Yemen’s currency, the Yemeni rial, has also contributed to the threat of starvation.
Although there is currently food in the markets, many families cannot even afford to buy the most basic items such as bread, milk, or eggs. According to a UN survey, 98% of households said that food was their primary expenditure, yet an alarming 93% of those households named high commodity prices as their primary financial challenge.
In the same survey, 72% of households revealed that they were forced to cut down on their food consumption to adjust to their lack of income. This is contributing to malnutrition and health other issues for many people, especially children.
Dr Ali, Save the Children’s Nutrition Adviser in Amran, Yemen, said:
“I’ve noticed people’s deteriorating financial situation as it’s very common that parents don’t bring their children to health facilities to get treatment, simply because they can’t afford the transport costs. People haven’t received salaries for years and they don’t have another source of income, so they simply don’t have the money to get their children to hospital.”
The ongoing violence and economic crisis continue to put millions at risk around the country. Even a small disruption to the flow of food and fuel into Hodeidah could be fatal for thousands of children and families in Yemen.
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Photo Credit: REUTERS