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Five Yemeni Houthi-Run Areas on Verge of Famine

Five Yemeni Houthi-Run Areas on Verge of Famine

Monday, 4 April, 2022 - 06:30
People stand in line to receive vouchers at a food distribution center supported by the World Food Program in Sanaa, Yemen June 3, 2020. (Reuters)

An international organization specialized in assessing food security has warned of possible famine in five Yemeni areas controlled by the Iran-backed Houthi militias.

It also warned that the war in Ukraine, which supplies Yemen with about 30% of its annual wheat needs, threatens to further deteriorate the situation in the country and in those areas in particular.

The Famine Review Committee (FRC) was activated with a request to assess the plausibility of the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Yemen Technical Working Group (TWG) Acute Food Insecurity (AFI) and Acute Malnutrition (AMN) classifications in five Houthi-run areas in western Yemen, namely Abs, Haradh and Midi in the Hajjah governorate and al-Hali and al-Hawak in the Hodeidah governorate.

The FRC found that the classifications and population estimates, conducted with the information available at the time of the analysis, are broadly plausible for the current and projected classifications in Abs, al-Hali and al-Hawak.

However, it concluded that there is not a body of evidence supporting a famine classification for Midi and Haradh.

The Committee considered the extrapolation done from Abs data, for both AFI and AMN analyses, are not plausible.

It recommended that the IPC TWG does not classify these areas but reassess the presence of populations residing in these districts, as well as their conditions.

It pointed out that in the immediate aftermath of the FRC activation, the Ukraine crisis unfolded generating the need to review the scenario definition for the projected period.

The FRC stressed that the risks associated with the crisis in Ukraine point to the need to re-assess the assumptions developed by the IPC analysis teams, notably the prices and supply of wheat and fuel, as well as a change in the geopolitics surrounding the Yemen conflict and possible shifts in humanitarian programming in the coming months.

It identified a number of risk factors that may be subject to rapid change during 2022.

These factors and/or the potential degree of change relate to recent developments and could not have been foreseen at the time of the Yemen IPC analyses.

Nevertheless, the FRC said these factors may affect the TWG classifications over the time periods they cover.

The FRC urged the closest possible monitoring not only of each of the risk factors individually, particularly their cumulative impact during the current and projection periods.

Without close monitoring and rapid response to any changes, it is feasible that the severity of the food security, nutrition, and health situation in Yemen could exceed the levels currently specified in the current and projection time periods, the Committee lamented.

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