Hotspot Analysis: Severe Acute Food Insecurity Persists in 29 Districts in Yemen
In December 2018, food insecurity in Yemen was at its worst. For the first time, nearly a quarter of a million people were estimated to be experiencing catastrophic food consumption gaps (IPC Phase 5) without Humanitarian Food Assistance (HFA). The severity was reported in 45 districts spread in 12 governorates out of the 22 governorates of Yemen. In the aftermath, all humanitarian partners – UN, INGOs, Governments and Donors – put together concerted efforts to scale up humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable populations in the worst affected districts. The humanitarian assistance also included other sectors such as WASH, Protection, Nutrition, Health, shelter, etc.
Although the TWG planned for continuous monitoring of these 45 districts, with the possibility of updating the food security situation in March 2019, several logistical impediments hampered the possibility of collecting food security data for all the districts. In April, the TWG was only able to access 29 districts for assessments. Access to the remaining 16 districts was impossible and they were excluded from this IPC analysis.
How severe: Four years after conflict dramatically escalated in Yemen, the food security situation continues to be unstable. The country has a strong culture of communal sharing, family support, external remittances and zakat (almsgiving), and this has indeed provided a significant cushioning effect for many of the vulnerable groups of the populations such as the displaced and the poor. Yet the crumbling macroeconomic environment, destruction of agricultural productive assets, loss of livelihoods, population displacement, and diminished purchasing power have increased the pressure on these social support mechanisms. In turn, this has amplified the communities’ exposure to risks and hazards.
With rising basic food commodity prices, reduced labour opportunities, wages plummeting and agricultural production dwindling, more households are increasingly relying on humanitarian assistance for their survival. In 2019, humanitarian food assistance doubled or even tripled in the worst affected districts that had populations facing a food security Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) in December 2018, providing a great reprieve to households’ food availability and access. It is, however, important to note, that there are still large food consumption gaps, and this is leading to an accelerated depletion of essential livelihood assets for most households.
How many and when: In December 2018, a total of 1, 552, 500 people were severely food insecure in 29 of the 45 most-affected districts. This included 658,000 people in IPC Phase 4 (Emergency), 44,000 in IPC Phase 5 (Catastrophe), and the remaining falling under IPC Phase 3 (Crisis). The current analysis indicates that in the analyzed districts, there are no populations in IPC Phase 5, however, 1, 246, 500 people are still severely food insecure (IPC Phase 3 and 4 combined).
Who and Where: Food insecurity is more severe in the areas with active fighting. This is particularly affecting the ability of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and the host communities to access essential services and to conduct livelihood activities. In terms of severity, all 29 districts analysed are classified in either IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) or IPC Phase 4 (Emergency). 11 districts are classified in IPC Phase 4 (Emergency) and are located in Al Hudaydah (3), Amran (1), Hajjah (5) and Taiz (2) Governorates. The remaining 18 districts are classified in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis).