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In Yemen, 7 Million People Are on the Brink of Famine
Local Editor

The scale of the food crisis in conflict-ridden Yemen is staggering with 17 million people - two thirds of the population - severely food insecure and seven million of these on the verge of famine, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said today in a briefing to the UN Security Council.

Yemeni mother and her child

In a video link from Geneva, he noted how conflict and violence in Yemen - "the largest humanitarian crisis today" - have disrupted agricultural livelihoods and are intensifying in some of the most food insecure and famine-risk areas.

The latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification conducted in March this year, registered a 20 percent increase in the number of people estimated to be severely food insecure [IPC Phase 3 and above]. Seven million are in IPC Phase 4 meaning they are a step away from being classified to be in Famine [IPC Phase 5].

In Yemen "crop production last year already fell by 40 percent compared with the pre-conflict average. This year, because of poor rains the harvest will be even lower," he said.

The virtual collapse of public health and veterinary services has further heightened the risk of disease and death. In addition, there are risks in the use of poor quality water of irrigation and food preparation.

Livestock disease surveillance and vaccination programs have come to a halt pushing the risk of disease outbreaks higher. The risk of emerging and endemic zoonoses [animal diseases] exists across the country.

Saving lives by saving livelihoods

The need for long-term political solutions for achieving sustainable peace in Yemen is unquestionable, but there is much we can do now to fight hunger and malnutrition. "We save lives by saving livelihoods," Graziano da Silva said.

"If we don't urgently address the needs of rural people - who make up 70 percent of Yemen's population - we will not have the prospect for a better future," he added.

Graziano da Silva addressed the UN Security Council together with the World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Source: Reliefweb, Edited by website team

13-07-2017 | 14:43


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