Conflict and Hunger in Yemen
More than 3 million children and nursing mothers are acutely malnourished. USAID’s Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) has projected a further deterioration of food security conditions in the medium term, with about two-thirds of the country falling under either the crisis or emergency phases of acute food insecurity during the October 2017-January 2018 period.
Health authorities have struggled for years to control chronic malnutrition in Yemen, the Middle East’s poorest country, but the ongoing civil, now well into its third year, has caused food security conditions to worsen dramatically. Current concerns focus heavily on the ability of key ports such as Al Hudaydah to handle imported foodstuffs for a country that grows little of its own.
Nutrition and Food Security
In response to this emergency, we provide treatment for Severe and Acute Malnutrition (SAM) and Moderate and Acute Malnutrition (MAM) cases at more than 40 community-level health facilities and with mobile clinics in Sana’a, Taizz, Lahj and Aden governorates. We offer training, essential drugs and nutrition commodities needed to operate outpatient therapeutic programs. In a country that has long struggled with food shortages and chronic malnutrition, the effects of civil war and a blockade of major ports has exacerbated conditions to a point where nearly a quarter of Yemen’s 27 million people face the threat of famine.
On average, International Medical Corps reaches over 13,000 individuals per month with health and nutrition education, 80% of them female. In Taizz, we are implementing emergency livelihoods and livelihoods restoration programs to rebuild livestock herds lost by vulnerable households during the conflict.
International Medical Corps also treats nearly 3,800 children under 5 years-old in our outpatient and inpatient nutrition programs each month, as well as 1,400 pregnant or nursing women per month in our supplementary feeding programs. In addition, we provide an average of nearly 2,000 food-insecure households with acutely malnourished children monthly vouchers as part of our food assistance programs designed to improve household food consumption and dietary diversity.
In Taizz/Lahj: International Medical Corps is implementing food voucher programs in Taizz and Lahj—two governorates that are currently experiencing emergency levels of food insecurity. The programs assist vulnerable families, particularly those with malnourished children under five or with pregnant and lactating women, and provide households with access to basic food items, such as wheat flour, rice, sugar, beans, salt, and vegetable oil. Our mobile teams also operate in surrounding districts of Taizz Governorate, providing assistance, including reproductive health consultations, family planning services, pediatric care and nutrition services for children for severe acute malnutrition.
In Taizz Governorate, a program is underway in two districts to provide tens of thousands of goats and sheep to families forced to sell or slaughter their own animals in order to eat. Although the program is behind schedule because of training delays, vaccination and deworming of the animals began in June and current plans call for their distribution to families to follow. Security concerns blocked implementation of the program planned for a third district.