About 161,000 people in war-torn Yemen are likely to experience famine over the second half of 2022 – a fivefold increase from the current figure.
The stark warning came on Monday in a report by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, or IPC, ahead of an annual fund-raising conference that the United Nations is hosting on Wednesday.
“These harrowing figures confirm that we are on a countdown to catastrophe in Yemen and we are almost out of time to avoid it,” said David Beasley, head of the World Food Program, appealing for immediate funding to “avert imminent disaster and save millions.”
The IPC report said 19 million people in Yemen — out of a population of more than 30 million — are likely to unable to meet their minimum food needs between June and December, up from 17.4 million.
Also, 2.2 million children, including 538,000 already severely malnourished, and about 1.3 million women, could be acutely malnourished by the end of the year, the report said.
“More and more children are going to bed hungry in Yemen,” said Catherine Russell, UNICEF’s executive director.
“This puts them at increased risk of physical and cognitive impairment, and even death.”
The development comes as heavy fighting was reported over the weekend between Yemeni Government troops and Ansar Allah separatists – also known as Houthi forces – around the oil-rich northern city of Marib, which is still under government control, killing and wounding dozens of combatants.
The fighting took place as UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, ended his first week of consultations with key Yemeni parties in a push for a peaceful and sustainable future for the country which has been locked in escalating conflict since 2015.
Ahead of a High-Level Pledging Event on the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen this Wednesday, the UN’s top aid official in Yemen, David Gressly, said in a tweet that funding was “urgently needed to sustain food and nutrition support, clean water, basic health care and protection. Parties to the conflict can reduce aid reliance by reducing restrictions on the economy.”
The warning from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), WFP and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), followed a surge violence across Yemen, which left at least 47 children killed or maimed in January and February.
Sources: TRT World, UN News