ROME – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed a $60 million contribution from the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief) to help meet the urgent food needs of the most vulnerable in famine-risk Yemen.
The contribution, signed by WFP Executive Director David Beasley and KSrelief’s Supervisor-General Dr Abdullah Al Rabeeah on the side-lines of the G20 development ministers meeting in Brindisi, southern Italy, comes as WFP battles to sustain its life-saving operations in Yemen as the ongoing conflict, economic decline, and the impact of COVID-19 makes life harder for millions in Yemen.
“We are currently witnessing an alarming deterioration of the food security situation in Yemen that goes beyond any levels seen before, with 5 million people just a step away from famine”, said Beasley. “We are grateful to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for this urgently needed contribution to WFP’s life-saving operation, without which our large-scale and complex humanitarian response in the country cannot be sustained” he added.
With the contribution from Saudi Arabia through its aid arm, KSrelief, WFP will be able to close critical gaps in our life-saving food assistance programme over the next few months, which supports a total of nearly 13 million people. WFP will procure wheat grain or flour and vegetable oil, staple elements of the monthly food basket provided to families. This will assist 4.9 million severely food insecure people across 15 governorates.
WFP has increased food assistance in all famine-risk areas since the start of the year as additional funds have become available. Yet around 3 million people WFP supports are still receiving food assistance on alternate months as funding remains uncertain.
Around 50,000 people in Yemen are living in famine-like conditions, the first time such critical levels of hunger have been identified in two years. Over 16.2 million people are forecast to be living with acute levels of food insecurity (IPC3+) by mid-2021, requiring immediate humanitarian intervention to survive.
This support comes as Yemen struggles with rising food prices – up to 200 percent above pre-war levels – and a deadly second wave of COVID-19 sweeping across the country and putting pressure on the healthcare system. Emergency food assistance is a lifeline for millions.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has contributed US$858 to WFP’s response in Yemen since 2018, including US$380 million in 2019 that helped WFP scale-up operations to reach 13 million people – pulling Yemen back from the brink of famine and saving lives.