• Up to 14 million people at risk of severe food insecurity
• Civilians bear the brunt of the conflict; Al Hudaydah Governorate records 78 civilian casualties in just one week
• Suspected cases of cholera increase while access issues continue to obstruct response efforts
• Logistics Cluster airlifts 447 metric tons of humanitarian cargo in October
MILLIONS MORE COULD SUFFER FROM HUNGER AS YEMEN SLIPS CLOSER TO FAMINE
Yemen is already the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. Twenty-two million people, 75 per cent of the entire population, require some form of humanitarian assistance and protection, including 8.4 million Yemenis who do not know where their next meal will come from.
The rapid and uncontrolled depreciation of the Yemeni Rial since early September has worsened the crisis. The costs of a basic food basket increased 25 percent and fuel costs by as much as 45 per cent in hard-hit areas.
If current trends continue, an additional 3 million to 5.6 million Yemenis could become severely food insecure in the coming months, pushing the number of severely food insecure Yemenis up to 14 million in a worst case scenario. Those most likely to be affected include the 70 per cent of Yemenis living on less than US$1 per day and the hundreds of thousands of civil servants and pensioners, who have either not received salaries or pensions, or have only received them intermittently, since August 2016.
Women and children across the country are at grave risk. In addition to the 1.1 million pregnant women and the 400,000 children who are already suffering from severe acute malnutrition, as many as 1.8 to 2.8 million more children could become severely food insecure.
The impact of the economic crisis is felt across all sectors. The cost of water trucking and bottled water has doubled in the past month, forcing hundreds of thousands of households across the country to use alternative and unsafe water sources. Soaring fuel costs are also affecting the sanitation sector where key services, including solid waste collection and desludging, were suspended. With cholera cases surging, as many as 1.2 million additional Yemenis are likely to require urgent WASH support, if current trends continue, bringing the total number of people in need of water and sanitation services to more than 12 million. The cost of addressing this potential new crisis is enormous. The UN and humanitarian partners estimate that they will require at least $500 million more US dollars to deal with such a worst-case scenario. Even if funds can be secured, agencies warn that it will take weeks, perhaps months, to scale-up operations. The parties to the conflict in Yemen and the international community now face a choice: do nothing and watch the country slip closer to famine or do everything possible to address the economic crisis. As a minimum, urgent steps need to be taken to inject liquidity into the economy, expedite lines of credit for the importers of core commodities and pay pensioners and civil servants.