My recent letter in the New York Times highlighted the plight of the hunger relief mission in Yemen. There is practically no funding for the UN World Food Programme (WFP) operation there.
We’ve already seen the protests in Egypt where hunger, poverty, and high food prices have taken their toll on the population, to a point where the people could take no more.
Yemen is also reeling from high food prices. There have been small protests in the country. No one knows what lies around the corner. But you can be sure that nothing good will happen when people live in such horrible impoverished conditions.
Georgia Warner, a World Food Programme officer in Yemen, says that “WFP is seriously concerned about the recent spike in food prices. One in three Yemenis are already food insecure.”
WFP has a plan to distribute rations to help Yemeni families under this heavy strain. The cost is about $77 million total and it would provide interim aid to millions of Yemenis, boost child nutrition levels, and support Food for Work projects aimed at improving agriculture and roads.
One of the biggest parts of the Yemen missions is a plan to distribute rations to 1.8 million people across 14 food-insecure governorates. These are families needing relief from the strain of high food prices. Without the funding, though, nothing can go forward.
In Yemen, our interests lie in a strong, stable ally who can resist Al Qaeda’s menace. A population struggling with hunger and malnutrition is certainly not in our national security interest. Such suffering also goes against our humanitarian traditions.
We must prioritize the fight against hunger in our foreign policy strategy and build an international coalition to go along. For Yemen it can start with funding the emergency safety net program to counter high food prices. Food security is national security for all nations.
Visit the World Food Programme Yemen page.