Yemen is facing unprecedented rises in the price of food putting millions more people in danger of catastrophic hunger, Oxfam warned.
Ferran Puig, Oxfam in Yemen Country Director, said: "This unprecedented rise in food prices threatens the lives of millions of people who are now in real danger of starvation. Families who have been pushed to the brink by seven years of conflict are being tipped over the edge as the prices of basic food rises beyond their reach. World leaders must act immediately to prevent catastrophic hunger and a worsening humanitarian crisis.”
Yemen has been hit hard by the worsening global food crises. The prices of wheat, flour, cooking oil, eggs and sugar have all increased by more than a third since March. Such price hikes haven’t been seen since the country was subject to a blockade and never for such a prolonged period.
Around 56 per cent of the four million internally displaced people have no source of income at all. Women and children who make up around 77 per cent of the displaced population are at greatest risk of starvation.
Between March and June this year, the price of basic foods increased by up to 45 per cent.
The average national price of the Minimum Food Basket (MFB) has increased by 48 per cent since December 2021 and 25 per cent since the start of the year, with the increasing costs of food imports further exacerbated by exchange rate fluctuations. Yemen’s national currency, the rial, has lost its value by 28 per cent since the beginning of the year.
Yemen imports 90 per cent of its food, including 42 per cent of its wheat from Ukraine. Importers have warned that stocks may run out in the coming months and that global increase in costs will challenge their ability to secure wheat imports into Yemen. In a country where many people depend on bread for most of their daily food to survive, this could push millions towards starvation. Any drop in global prices could well be short-lived and may not translate into a reduction in cost for ordinary Yemenis.
An unseasonable drought caused by rising temperatures globally have caused more suffering, especially for farmers. Many Yemenis depend on agriculture and livestock as a main source of income but have seen their crops damaged or delayed and livestock dying during the current drought.
The lack of resources and funding has come with devastating consequences. The World Food Program has been forced to reduce the amount of aid it provides, with five million recipients of food aid now set to receive less than half of their daily calorie requirement. Eight million will receive just 25 per cent.