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.