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Photo: @FAO/Mohammed Abdulkhaliq & Ameen Alghabri

Window to prevent famine in Yemen is narrowing; UN agencies warn

03/12/2020

The window to prevent famine in Yemen is narrowing as new figures reveal record highs of acute food insecurity in the country, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and UNICEF warned today.

New Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis for Yemen indicates that pockets of famine-like conditions (IPC Phase 5) have already returned for the first time in two years, and warns that the number of people experiencing this degree of catastrophic food insecurity could nearly triple from 16,500 currently to 47,000 people between January and June 2021.

At the same time, today's IPC analysis warns that the numbers of people facing Phase 4 food insecurity- the Emergency phase - is poised to increase from 3.6 million to 5 million people in the first half of 2021 - putting them too on the precipice of falling into catastrophic conditions and - without a change of course - possibly famine.

"These alarming numbers must be a wake-up call to the world. Yemen is on the brink of famine and we must not turn our backs on the millions of families who are now in desperate need. Make no mistake, 2021 will be even worse than 2020 for Yemen's most vulnerable people. Famine can still be prevented - but that opportunity is slipping away with every day that passes," said David Beasley, Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme.

Phase 4 is a final warning for action - at this point on the IPC's hunger spectrum, people are already suffering enormously with some of the most vulnerable potentially dying of hunger. Over half the population (16.2 million) of 30 million will be facing crisis levels of food insecurity (Phase 3+) by mid-2021, with many on the threshold of slipping into worsening levels of hunger as over five years of war have exhausted families and left them acutely vulnerable to shocks.

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