11 December 2018
Conflict Exposes 20 Million People to Severe Acute Food Insecurity in Yemen
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Despite humanitarian food assistance, 15.9 million people in Yemen are facing severe acute food insecurity, including 63,500 people facing catastrophe.

Yemen is the country with the highest number of people suffering from hunger due to conflict.

Yemen and six other countries account for almost 50 million people suffering from hunger due to conflict, climate change or a combination of both.

8 December 2018: The continuing conflict in Yemen has pushed 15.9 million people into acute food insecurity over the last year. An additional 4.2 million people depend on humanitarian food assistance (HFA) to avoid sever acute food insecurity. Despite HFA, 63,500 people are facing catastrophe, including elevated risk of mortality. Without HFA, this number would be more than three times as high, affecting 238,000 people.

The 2018 report on the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World highlighted climate change and conflict as the main drivers of a recent reversal of the trend in global hunger leading to an increase of global hunger to 821 million in 2018. The latest updates on the food security situation in Yemen and several other countries published by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) provide concerning evidence of how these factors continue to drive hunger in many regions of the world.

The IPC Food Security Phase Classification uses five “Phases” to evaluate food insecurity, including Phase 1 (minimally food insecure), Phase 2 (people in Stress), Phase 3 (People in Crisis), Phase 4 (people in Emergency), and Phase 5 (People in Catastrophe). “Severe acute food security” describes the number of people facing Phase 3 conditions or worse. In Yemen, 15.9 million people (53% of the population) faced severe acute food security in December 2018. Without HFA, this number would increase to 20.1 million (67% of the population).

Any disruption in access to food could bring a quarter of a million people in Yemen to the brink of death.

The increase in the number of people depending on HFA to avoid catastrophe is particularly alarming according to Lisa Grande, Humanitarian Food Coordinator for Yemen. She stated that, for a quarter of a million people in Yemen, “any disruption in their ability to access food on a regular basis will bring them to the brink of death.”

Yemen currently has the highest number of people facing hunger because of armed conflict globally, but conflict and climate change also drive hunger in other countries. As of December 2018, five additional countries are identified by IPC as countries of “highest concern:”

  • Afghanistan: 9.8 million people facing severe acute food insecurity (43.6 % of the rural population)
  • Central African Republic: 1.9 million (40% of the population)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo: 13.1 million (23% of the rural population)
  • Somalia: 2.7 million people (18% of the population)
  • South Sudan: 6.1 million people (59% of the population)

In these countries alone, conflict, climate change or a combination of both have pushed almost 50 million people into severe acute food insecurity over recent years. [FAO Press Release] [WFP Press Release] [IPC Acute Food Insecurity Analysis: Yemen] [IPC Website and Analysis Portal]

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