SANA’A, YEMEN —Yemen is currently facing war, the coronavirus (COVID-19) and Desert locusts as it tries to avoid acute hunger, according to the World Food Programme (WFP). 

The WFP already provides food assistance to approximately half of the population, 13 million people.

The Red Sea Mills, a milling facility rented by WFP, has depleted its stores to Yemen’s starving population almost two years after fighting for cut access, Reuters reported. The facility was the last one in the conflict zone that was caught between forces loyal to Yemen’s internationally recognized government and those of the Iran-aligned Houthi group. Access to the facility was impacted in 2018 and aid agencies were unable to use the facility until September 2019 after a year of negotiations.

According to the WFP, Yemen’s acute food insecurity will increase from the current 25% of the population to 40% by the end of the year in the areas surveyed — an increase from 2 million people to 3.2 million people out of a surveyed population of 7.9 million.

“The picture painted by the latest food security analysis for Yemen’s southern districts is truly heart-breaking,” said David Beasley, executive director of the WFP. “Unless the international community steps up with an urgent injection of funds, we are going to find ourselves right back where we were in 2018, when we had to fight our way back from the brink of a full-scale famine.

“The Yemeni people have already been ravaged by years of conflict-fueled hunger and malnutrition, and now COVID-19 is ratcheting up their misery. The world needs to open its eyes to this unfolding humanitarian disaster before it’s too late.”

To continue delivering food assistance through the end of the year the WFP said it needs $737 million.

In some areas, Yemeni families receive assistance on alternative months due to funding shortfalls. The WFP said it may have to further reduce operations if additional funding is not secured.

“Yemen is hanging by a thread,” said Laurent Bukera, WFP country director for Yemen. “The forecast for the next few months is very concerning and it’s essential that we have the resources to be able to continue to deliver food assistance to the millions who rely on it. If we fail to act now, the consequences will be devastating.”

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