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Yemen Hunger Relief Mission Underfunded by Nearly $70 Million

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The UN World Food Programme (WFP) announced its emergency safety net plan to fight hunger in Yemen. It’s a three-pronged approach. WFP will provide rations for impoverished families, food for children under five and pregnant women, and help jumpstart the rehabilitation of agricultural and public assets.

The plan is sound but there is one huge problem. There are few donations from the international community to carry out the mission. Under $10 million out of the required $77 million has been received.

WFP says it’s “requesting immediate additional contributions be made to this operation that will assist 682,000 children, 88,000 pregnant and lactating women, and over 1.8 million food-insecure Yemenis.”

Last summer, the White House admitted that the humanitarian relief plan for Yemen was “woefully underfunded.”  The budget shortfall  meant reduced rations for displaced persons from the conflict in Northern Yemen between the government and rebels. The low funding also meant suspension of a Food for Education program for around 115,000 school children. To date, this school feeding initiative has not received the funding to start up again.

Yemen is a country where one in three people are suffering from hunger, and more on the brink. WFP Yemen director Gian Carlo Cirri points out that the emergency food plan takes on even more significance during a time of high food prices.

Yemen has an extremely high rate of child malnutrition, making the nutritional support for infants and pregnant women especially crucial. Special foods like plumpy’nut and supplementary plumpy need to be in full supply in Yemen. Lack of nutrition for small children can lead to severe mental and physical damage. Plumpy’nut can rescue many children in Yemen right now.

The United States and its international partners need to think more about food first when planning their strategy for helping Yemen. For nothing is more basic to any population than food security. And it is through food that so many other objectives related to peace and economic development can spring.

To help fight hunger in Yemen, visit the World Food Program USA or a CARE2 petition.

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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.