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.