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Hunger crisis escalates in Yemen, U.S. needs to show leadership

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The UN World Food Programme (WFP), facing huge budget shortfalls, is being forced to reduce rations for over 250,000 Yemenis who have been displaced by the conflict in the northern part of the country.  On Wednesday, WFP and the Government of Yemen will host a press conference urging donations to avert a large-scale tragedy.

A WFP document obtained yesterday reads, “Reducing rations is not the solution, but rather a last resort.  We have serious concerns about the impact that ration reductions will have on the nutrition and health status of families as they rely entirely on this assistance for survival.  At this point we have no other option but to reduce rations in order to make the limited food quantities we have last longer until we get additional support…"

The result though is that internally displaced persons “will receive 1,040 kilo calories per person per day, rather than the 2,100 kcal required for an active and healthy life.“  Without new funding, these rations will eventually go to zero.

The U.S. is going to have to show leadership in rallying international support to stop hunger in Yemen. President Obama and the Congress have placed great emphasis on Yemen as a top national security priority. The Senate even passed a resolution last year on the importance of Yemen in our national security strategy. Now is the time for the talk to be backed up by action. This food crisis demands nothing less.

The food for Yemenis displaced by the conflict is just one of the programs that is suffering. There is the rest of the country where WFP is short 78 million dollars in funding for its entire countrywide operation. School Feeding, the foundation for fighting child hunger and poverty, has been suspended since last June because of lack of funds.

Food is essential for peace and stability in Yemen, a country plagued by conflict, Al Qaeda, hunger, and poverty.


For some ways you can help Yemen, please visit Takepart.com or Facebook.

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About William Lambers

William Lambers is the author of several books including Ending World Hunger: School Lunches for Kids Around the World. This book features over 50 interviews with officials from the UN World Food Programme and other charities discussing school feeding programs that fight child hunger. He is also the author of Nuclear Weapons, The Road to Peace: From the Disarming of the Great Lakes to the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Open Skies for Peace, The Spirit of the Marshall Plan: Taking Action Against World Hunger, School Lunches for Kids Around the World, The Roadmap to End Global Hunger, From War to Peace and the Battle of Britain. He is also a writer for the History News Service. His articles have been published by newspapers including the Cincinnati Enquirer, Des Moines Register, the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Buffalo News, San Diego Union Tribune, the Providence Journal, Free Lance-Star (VA), the Bakersfield Californian, the Washington Post, Miami Herald (FL), Chicago Sun-Times, the Patriot Ledger (MA), Charleston Sunday Gazette Mail (WV), the Cincinnati Post, Salt Lake Tribune (UT), North Adams Transcript (MA), Wichita Eagle (KS), Monterey Herald (CA), Athens Banner-Herald (GA) and the Duluth News Journal. His articles also appear on History News Network (HNN) and Think Africa Press. Mr. Lambers is a graduate of the College of Mount St. Joseph in Ohio with degrees in Liberal Arts (BA) and Organizational Leadership (MS). He is also a member of the Feeding America Blogger Council.
  • Eliminating the budget for UNWRA and diverting monies given to the “Palestinian” Authority of terrorists would be a useful measure in promoting peace haere – and feeding the victims of a vicious war in Yemen.

    The Yemeni refugees – whose plight is truly heartbreaking – would at least eat. The Arabs here would be forced to turn from war to making money to live.

  • Salman Alfarisi

    not only the hunger crisis, Yemen is experiencing a crisis of water, some residents get water from the water company only once in nine days, and others do not even get any. decreasing underground water level caused municipalities could only operate 80 out of 180 existing wells. unlike other Arab countries, Yemen is the poorest country in the arab. I hope the USA can show his greatness and be able to carry yaman out of this prolonged crisis.

  • Great article, William. And yes, it is time for the country to help feed people who are starving. We must do something and it seems rather quickly too.