The World Food Program (WFP) again warned Wednesday from the rapidly deteriorating economy in Yemen, stressing that soaring food prices through the first half of 2021 is worsening the country’s hunger crisis, with millions of people struggling to afford food.
The WFP said humanitarian food assistance is the first line defense against the massive loss of lives, however, it asserted that only peace can remove the drivers behind food insecurity.
It called for a sustainable solution to the crises in Yemen and for the need to take urgent measures to prevent the economy from further collapse.
Tobias Flaemig, WFP head of Research, Assessment and Monitoring in Yemen, said fuel imports are down by 74 percent in the first half of 2021, causing fuel prices to increase by 90 percent on a yearly basis.
He added that rising global commodity prices have been up by 34 percent year-on-year in June and have pushed up the cost of food in Yemen, which is heavily import-food dependent.
Flaemig added that the cost of a food basket in Yemen has risen by over 25 percent in 12 out of 22 governorates since the beginning of 2021.
Also, the Yemeni rial has reached record lows in southern Yemen, hitting 1,000 rials to the dollar for the first time in July 2021, he said.
However, the rial has been stable in the northern area, Flaemig noted, due to tight economic controls that the authorities have been able to impose.
Meanwhile, the UN children's fund projected nearly 2.3 million children under the age of 5 will suffer from acute malnutrition in Yemen this year. Of these, it warned some 400,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition could die if they do not receive urgent treatment.
Around 1.2 million pregnant and breast-feeding women in Yemen suffer from severe malnutrition, while hunger leaves people acutely vulnerable to various public health risks facing the country, including COVID-19, cholera, dengue and malaria.
The WFP said it provides emergency food assistance to nearly 13 million people every month and that it has increased food aid in all famine-risk areas since the start of the year as additional funds have become available.