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Unrest in Yemen Over Food Shortages: U.S. and Allies Need to Take Action

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Demonstrations are taking place in Yemen over a 50 percent cut in food rations. More than 250,000 Yemenis, displaced by a conflict in the north between the government and rebels, depend on food aid for survival.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) was forced to reduce rations because of low funding from the international community. If new funding is not found, WFP programs may come to a total halt. WFP has also been forced to reduce or cut food aid programs in other parts of Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the entire world.

Gian Carlo Cirri, WFP’s Yemen Country Director, says, "Multiple internal and external challenges have left Yemen in a state of emergency. Growing poverty, hunger, and malnutrition in the country present a new front. If not addressed, this could prove to be the tipping point.”

This tipping will impact the lives of millions of Yemenis, increase malnutrition in children, and threaten the stability of the government. U.S. national security interests are also very much at stake.

The United States Senate passed a resolution last year emphasizing support for Yemen as a vital part of a national security strategy. The resolution must be backed by action to stop the hunger crisis. There can be no peace or stability for a country ravaged by hunger and malnutrition.

Cirri added, “In funding humanitarian operations, you are buying stability at a relatively cheap price.”

In Yemen this year, 75 million dollars is needed to fund WFP operations. The U.S. and its allies could advance a humanitarian cause, as well as one of national security, for a relatively small sum.

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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.
  • “In funding humanitarian operations, you are buying stability at a relatively cheap price.”

    Mr. Lambers, I realize that you are a man of good will and peace. But the cold reality is that no foreign power is interested in buying stability in this region – at any price. Instability generates arms sales; the deaths of the locals is just a minor price of doing business. In the larger sense, that is how the Russians, Chinese and American military-indusrial establishments ALL view the Persian race for a bomb, the Yemeni civil war and the escalating plans for war in the Levant and Israel. Those who die as a result – and millions will die as a result – are just collateral damage to be commented over at cocktail parties with a regretting cluck of the tongue.

    And then the party goes on.