Recently, I have published a number of stories on the hunger crisis facing Yemen. Both the World Food Programme and UNICEF are low on funding, which limits their ability to help those suffering in the impoverished country.
Living in poverty is hard enough for millions of Yemenis, but the conflict in the North (Sa'ada) has made conditions even more grueling for hundreds of thousands of people.
At the end of May I spoke with Geert Cappelaere, the UNICEF director in Yemen. He believes Yemen needs its own "Roadmap to End Hunger." This is especially critical in a country where the percentage of children stunted in growth is high.
Small children in Yemen need foods like Plumpy'nut, which provides the necessary nutrients to prevent or recover from malnutrition at this critical stage in their lives. If they do not get this food, they will suffer physical and mental damage.
Plumpy'nut is available through the France-based company Nutriset, the U.S.- based Edesia, and a network of Plumpy partners across the globe. Monetary donations to both UNICEF and the World Food Programme could allow for the purchase of Plumpy and shape the future of so many small children in Yemen.
Cappelaere hopes these donations come through to meet the existing emergency. However, he and his team also want to create long-term solutions for helping the people of Yemen. It's imperative that short-term and long-term strategies work in tandem.
One idea Cappelaere discussed was the building of Plumpy'nut production capacity within Yemen itself, even establishing a regional hub there. This would have enormous significance in the fight against child hunger in Yemen and beyond. In fact, establishing local production of food in developing countries is something the Obama administration is touting.
Think of what Plumpy'nut production in Yemen would mean. Jobs for people in Yemen, faster transit and reduced costs for getting Plumpy'nut, Supplementary Plumpy, and other foods to children. Yemen could be on its way to a sustainable national child-feeding program.
What’s needed now are donors to come forward from across the globe to help children in Yemen avoid the fate of malnutrition, or worse. Next is the long-term strategy of local food production, a key element for Feeding the Future.
You can help UNICEF by visiting and clicking on nutrition programs. You can donate to the World Food Programme at www.friendsofwfp.org. You can also support the purchase of the life-saving Plumpy'nut for children all across the globe by visiting Edesia's website.
Update: Maria Santamarina of the World Food Programme provides an update on how much of the recent U.S. donation of $42.5 million to Yemen will go to food aid. This donation is to provide relief supplies to victims of the conflict in northern Yemen (Sa'ada).
Santamarina says, "We have received word from USAID that the WFP operation for Sa'ada IDPs (internally displaced persons) could receive 6 million USD in cash, as well as an additional potential contribution of 6.9 million USD in kind (this means that we will receive food commodities and shipping costs etc which value US 6.9 million, namely US locally produced wheat flour as well as pulses—ie beans or peas)."Powered by Sidelines