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Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes likely to persist in Marib amid conflict and reduced assistance

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Yemen
  • February - September 2023
Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes likely to persist in Marib amid conflict and reduced assistance

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  • Key Messages
  • National Overview
  • Areas of Concern
  • Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year
  • Most Likely Food Security Outcomes in Areas Receiving Significant Levels of Humanitarian Assistance
  • Key Messages
    • Years of protracted conflict have significantly damaged the economy and local livelihoods in Yemen. In addition to the impacts of active fighting, the parties to the conflict continue to engage in strategic economic warfare. Notably, forces of the Sana’a-based authorities (SBA) have been blocking oil exports from areas controlled by the internationally-recognized government (IRG) since November 2022, cutting the IRG off from its most important source of revenue and foreign exchange. Although a recent 1 billion USD deposit from Saudi Arabia is expected to provide some budgetary support, the IRG is expected to become increasingly unable to maintain essential public services including electricity.

    • Many households continue to struggle with above-average food prices amid highly limited income-earning opportunities. While some temporary improvement in food consumption is expected during Ramadan (mainly April), when social support and charity increases, many poor households will continue to face food consumption gaps overall. Widespread Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes are expected to persist across most of the country throughout the projection period, with needs expected to reach an annual peak in the June to September period due to low food stocks during the lowlands’ local agricultural off-season and rising food prices. Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes – driven by conflict and the related loss of livelihoods among large, displaced populations – are expected to persist in Marib, while Hajjah is expected to improve from Emergency (IPC Phase 4) to Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) by April, linked to the start of the local agricultural season (and associated seasonal income-earning opportunities) and Ramadan.

    • The easing of import restrictions by the Saudi-led coalition (which backs the IRG) is expected to incentivize traders to increasingly import non-food commodities (such as construction materials, textiles, and electronics) through the western Red Sea ports in Al Hudaydah instead of southern ports in IRG-controlled territory (such as Aden). This is likely to further reduce IRG revenue from import tariffs and reduce job opportunities for daily wage earners working in IRG-controlled ports or along the importation supply chain. Meanwhile, income-earning opportunities for households in/around Al Hudaydah city are likely to increase gradually over time. Though this will decrease the population facing consumption gaps, area-level Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes are expected to persist in Al Hudaydah governorate, driven by impacts of conflict in the south of the governorate and seasonally low levels of income-earning opportunities in lowland rural areas.


    National Overview

    Current Situation

    Figure 1

    Heat map of conflict incidents
    conflict incidents were concentrated in southwestern areas, especially Taizz

    Includes armed clashes, air strikes, and shelling. January and February 2023

    Source: Intelyse

    Despite ongoing back-channel talks between the Sana’a-based authorities (SBA) and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), the truce in place from April 2 to October 2, 2022, has not yet been renewed. Since the expiration of the truce, the frequency of armed clashes has increased to surpass even pre-truce levels, with frontline areas of Taizz and Marib worst affected (Figure 1). However, there are some indications of continued lower levels of conflict intensity. For instance, the frequency of incidents of shelling/artillery in frontline areas has remained below pre-truce levels. Additionally, comparatively very few air/drone strikes have occurred. These trends are likely linked to the shift in the SBA’s tactics toward heightened economic warfare.

    According to data from the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), the frequency of reported armed clashes declined during the truce period through around August, but has been generally increasing again since then. Most recently, in January 2023, 151 armed clashes were recorded, more than double the number from the prior month and the highest monthly total recorded since October 2021. Despite the January spike, the total number of armed clashes recorded in the post-truce period (October 3, 2022, to February 28, 2023) was 28 percent less than in the same time period of the previous year (pre-truce) (Figure 2). Meanwhile, the frequency of air/drone strikes and incidents of shelling/artillery remained fairly high during the truce period but declined sharply following the expiration of the truce. Despite a slight uptick in January, the frequency of these incidents has remained notably lower than the high levels recorded during the truce. Overall, the total number of drone strikes recorded in the post-truce period was 91 percent lower than the same period of the prior year, while the total number of incidents of shelling/artillery attacks was 44 percent lower. Despite the increased frequency of armed clashes, the total number of fatalities recorded in the post-truce period (1,594) was more than eight times lower than in the same period of the prior year (13,624). However, the number of incidents related to remote landmines/IEDs was 28 percent higher than in the same period of the prior year, linked to improved access to previously front-line areas that have not yet been de-mined.

    Figure 2

    Frequency of conflict incidents and peaceful protests
    bar chart showing that conflict declined in the post-truce period

    Post-truce period (October 3, 2022, to February 28, 2023), compared to the same time period of the previous year (pre-truce)

    Source: FEWS NET using data from ACLED

    In IRG-controlled areas, conflict between different factions of the IRG has escalated in recent months. In January, the chairman of the Presidential Leadership Council issued a decree to form the National Shield Forces, causing heightened tensions with STC. Additionally, conflict involving Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Southern Transitional Council (STC) has continued, resulting in incidents of explosions and remote violence in Abyan and Shabwah, as well as battles in Shabwah.

    Levels of conflict-driven population displacement declined during the truce and have remained relatively low despite its expiration. However, economic displacement has increased, reflecting the widespread, significant disruption to household livelihoods after years of conflict, including impacts on typical sources of food and income. In the post-truce period from October 3, 2022, to February 28, 2023, the number of displaced households recorded by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) was 2,675, more than six times lower than the 18,139 households displaced in the same time period of the previous year (pre-truce), driven by a more than eight-fold reduction in conflict-driven displacement. However, the number displaced due to economic reasons increased by 68 percent, from 334 to 560 households. Between January 1 and February 28, 2023, 1,584 households (around 11,088 individuals) were displaced at least once. Of these, 81 percent were displaced due to conflict, while the remaining 19 percent were displaced due to economic reasons related to the conflict. In this period, most households were displaced from Taizz (567 households), Abyan (242), Al Hudaydah (183), Marib (128), and Lahij (100). Most were displaced to locations within Marib (527), Lahj (333), Abyan (219), Al Hudaydah (21), and Taizz (193). Since the start of the conflict in March 2015, the value of the national economy has reduced to half its former levels. Shortages of government revenue and foreign exchange are pervasive, with financial collapse averted only by periodic large injections of foreign currency from donor countries. Although government revenue from oil exports – the IRG’s main source – had been gradually recovering for several years, the blockade of oil exports by SBA forces ongoing since November 2022 is causing further significant losses. Previously, oil export revenue had been providing income equivalent to 70 percent of the IRG public budget. According to the IRG Prime Minister in a speech made in mid-February, the cessation of oil exports has caused losses of about 800 million to 1 billion USD, further weakening the economy.

    At the same time, the IRG has lost revenue from customs taxes – reportedly amounting to an estimated 350 billion YER in customs taxes since last year – due to the ongoing diversion of imports to Al Hudaydah port in SBA-controlled territory, where traders benefit from a lower customs exchange rate.  Recently, SBA authorities have taken several measures aimed at encouraging this trend. Significantly, in late February, negotiations between SBA authorities and the KSA resulted in the easing of longstanding Saudi-imposed inspection and clearance requirements for imports into the western Red Sea ports. This will reduce time and costs for the importation of food and fuel and, notably, will allow for non-food commodities other than fuel (such as construction materials, textiles, and electronics) to be imported through the Red Sea ports for the first time since the pre-conflict era. Meanwhile, according to news reports, SBA authorities have been restricting imports of certain commodities – such as timber and cement – being transported from IRG to SBA areas by truck, in an apparent effort to speed up the redirection of importation supply chains.

    Despite the sharp drop in revenue, the Aden-based Central Bank of Yemen (CBY) has to date been able to continue holding regular foreign currency auctions, meeting traders’ demand and preventing any import disruptions. Demand by traders has been relatively low in January and February compared to previous months. Whereas demand often reached the auction ceiling of 30 million USD in the latter half of 2022, demand throughout January and February 2023 has ranged from 5 million USD to 18 USD per auction, well below the auction ceilings of 30-50 million.

    Figure 3

    Exchange rate trends in Aden and Amanat al Asimah (Sana’a city), 2018 – 2023
    Line chart showing exchange rates over time. Discussed in National Overview.

    Source: FEWS NET using data from Aden-based CBY

    Despite significant volatility, the Aden-based Rial (YER) has generally depreciated throughout 2022 and early 2023 (Figure 3). From December 2022 to January 2023, the YER depreciated by around five percent in the IRG reference market of Aden, on average, to reach 1,167 YER/USD, according to FAO market data. The trend of depreciation continued in the first week of February, with the value of the currency in Aden reaching 1,260 YER/USD on February 6. On February 21, the KSA announced depositing 1 billion USD into the Aden-based Central Bank as part of a larger 3 billion USD Saudi-led coalition fund to support the relatively new Presidential Leadership Council. The Yemeni exchange market reacted positively after the announcement, as is typical, and the local currency appreciated by around eight percent. However, due to uncertainty over the timeline for release of the funds, the currency began depreciating again the next day, reaching 1,242 YER/USD by February 27 and almost reversing the prior appreciation. The Arab Monetary Fund will serve as a technical body to help oversee the disbursement of the money from the deposit, which is conditioned upon economic and institutional reforms that will likely take time to achieve.

    Figure 4

    Total import quantities (MT) of key staple foods at the national level, in 2021 and 2022
    bar chart showing food imports were slightly higher in 2021 vs 2022

    Source: FEWS NET using data from MTI and YSMO

    Although agriculture is widely practiced in Yemen, its contribution to the national food supply remains limited. As such, Yemen is highly dependent on imports for its staple food supply, typically importing 90-95 percent of its staple wheat requirements, according to FAO. Prior to the   Russian invasion of Ukraine, around 40 percent Yemen’s imported wheat came from Ukraine and Russia. Following disruptions to wheat imports due to the war in Ukraine, supply chains stabilized and import levels increased during the truce period, with a subsequent increase in traders’ stocks. In total in 2022, Yemen imported around 4,370,000 MT of staple food commodities (wheat grain/flour, rice, sugar, cooking oil, and milk), a 10 percent decline from 2021 levels, primarily driven by a decline in wheat grain imports (Figure 4). In 2022, the share of staple foods imported through IRG-controlled ports declined to 30 percent (down from 40 percent in 2021), while the share imported through SBA ports increased commensurately, from 60 percent in 2021 to 70 percent in 2022. This was driven by trends in import levels of wheat grain and sugar (Figure 5).

    Figure 5

    Import quantities of key staple foods, in 2021 and 2022
    bar chart showing that imports through IRG ports declined from 2021 to 2022

    Imports through IRG- and SBA-controlled ports; percentages show share of national imports

    Source: FEWS NET using data from Sana’a-Based MTI

    More recently, in January 2023, a total of around 271,000 MT of food entered through the SBA-controlled Al Hudaydah and As Salif seaports. This import volume is 25 percent less than in January 2022 and 26 percent less than in January 2021, driven by a reduction in imports of wheat grain and rice compared to the same time last year, which outweighed an increase in imports of wheat flour. Although import levels typically exhibit month-to-month fluctuations, this decline may be associated with traders having sufficient reserves in warehouses after recovering from the impacts of the Ukraine crisis. However, declining purchasing power among the general population – reducing poor households’ ability to afford even staple foods – may also be a factor. Recent food import data for IRG areas are not yet available.

    Fuel availability remains stable nationwide. In January 2023, a total 235,941 MT of fuel was imported through Al Hudaydah and As Salif seaports, according to data from the United Nations Verification and Inspection Mechanism for Yemen (UNVIM).  Although this was a 15 percent decline from the previous month, month-to-month volatility is typical, and the amount imported in January was a 31 percent increase over the 2022 monthly average.

    Across the country, fuel prices (both official and unofficial) have generally been decreasing since mid-2022, due to declining global prices and, in SBA areas, a significant reduction in time spent in the Saudi-led Coalition holding area relative to 2021 and early 2022, according to UNVIM reports. According to data from FAO, commercial/unofficial prices of diesel in Amanat al Asimah (Sana’a city) declined by a further 9 percent from December to January, to reach levels 37 percent lower than the record high prices (1,000 YER/L) recorded in August 2022. Similarly, commercial/unofficial prices of petrol decreased by 3 percent from December to January, reaching levels 32 percent lower than their September 2022 peak. Conversely, commercial/unofficial prices of gas cylinders (used for cooking) increased by 13 percent from December to January, though remained 43 percent lower compared to peak levels recorded in April 2022 and lower by about 30 and 15 percent, respectively, compared to the same period from the previous year and two years. Meanwhile, in Aden city, prices of diesel (official) declined for the sixth consecutive month in January but remained 25 percent higher than prices recorded in January 2022. Similarly, prices of petrol (official) have generally been declining since September 2022, but in January 2023 remained 23 percent higher than the same time last year. Prices of gas cylinders (official) in Aden city remained stable in January at levels 26 percent higher than the same time last year. Seasonal increases in price of cooking gas (gas cylinder) have been a common trend with the advent of Ramadan across both IRG and SBA reference markets.

    The business environment has improved slightly in recent months, due to lower levels of conflict, stable fuel availability, and declining fuel prices. However, the high costs of business inputs and services coupled with low purchasing power among the population continue to limit income-earning activities for business-owners, laborers, and petty traders. Additionally, in many areas, the risk of landmines continues to reduce access to land even where conflict has declined. Meanwhile, government salary and pension payments remain unadjusted for inflation and, particularly in IRG areas, the regularity of payment is still a concern for military sector. Additionally, income from foreign remittances remains slightly lower than 2022 levels given the drop in Yemeni immigrants in the KSA.

    Cumulative rainfall during Yemen’s second rainy season (July to October 2022) was above the long-term average (1981-2010) across most of the country, with the greatest surpluses of 200 to more than 300 mm recorded over western highland areas, according to CHIRPS data. While this was beneficial to agricultural activities, particularly in lowland irrigated areas, episodic heavy rainfall events led to severe flooding, especially in August. The 2022 second rainy season has been followed by country-wide seasonally dry conditions through January, with typical light rainfall in localized areas in the west. Mean temperatures through February were above the 2002-2018 average in southeastern and southwestern parts of the country, near normal in the south, and below normal in the interior. Consequently, Yemen’s dry season has progressed with no reported incidents of flooding. Thanks to low soil moisture levels in January/February, desert locust activity has declined across winter breeding areas, with scattered adult locusts present in the Red Sea coast of Yemen, in the coastal areas of Saudi Arabia, Eritrea, and northwest Somalia, and a few isolated adults seen in the southern coast of Aden, according to FAO.

    Despite favorable weather since October, food and income from crop production remains well below pre-conflict levels (and similar to last year) across most of the country, driven by high input prices and limited marketing opportunities. Furthermore, in rural highland areas, crop and livestock production activities are currently at seasonally low levels during the dry season. Harvesting of barley, wheat, and legumes has concluded, having occurred over much of the highlands throughout January. In the northern and central highlands, farmers are now engaging in typical seasonal activities to prepare for the coming agricultural season. In rural lowland areas, the recent cereal and vegetable harvests and increased seasonal fodder availability – supported by recent good weather – is providing some food and income-earning opportunities for laborers and petty traders along the production and marketing chains. Meanwhile, in February, the Aden-based Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) announced intentions to ban fish exports in order to increase the fish supply in local markets, which will reduce income for thousands of wage-earners working for fish export market chains.

    Livestock body conditions and productivity are currently expected to be at seasonally low levels during the dry season, with challenges to livestock-rearing exacerbated by high prices of fodder and poor access to veterinary services. As of late February, vegetation and pasture conditions were above the 2012-2021 average in many western highland areas, according to satellite monitoring. However, availability of natural fodder generally remains scarce in highland areas during the dry season, increasing households’ reliance on markets for livestock feed. At the same time, retail prices of fodder remain significantly above the five-year average in IRG areas, after markedly increasing in 2022 driven by rising global prices following the war in Ukraine. Given this and persistent lack of access to veterinary care for pastoralists in both SBA and IRG-controlled areas, livestock body conditions are likely to be poor in many areas. Lack of veterinary care perpetuates the spread of animal diseases and pests, which contribute to declining body conditions and are the main cause of livestock fatalities across Yemen. 

    In general, household income from livestock sales remains at seasonally low levels in February, as  pastoralists typically refrain from selling sheep and goats during winter due to low seasonal demand and prices. Households who are able to do so prefer to wait for the peak demand season, which spans Ramadan through Eid al-Adha (occurring from the end of March to early June this year). Nonetheless, many households have continued to sell their livestock as a necessary livelihood coping strategy to earn income for their basic needs, despite the downward trend of sheep prices since July 2022, according to data from WFP. Furthermore, as milk availability from livestock is seasonally low across most of Yemen (apart from camel milk production in the eastern plateau and sheep milk production in Socotra), the sale of livestock products has likely been generating only limited income for pastoralist households in Yemen since December 2022.

    Overall, basic food items remain generally available in markets nationwide. However, despite lower fuel prices nationwide, staple food prices increased further in January 2023 in both IRG and SBA reference markets (Figure 6), according to FAO data. In Aden, the monthly average cost of the minimum food basket (MFB) increased by 10 percent from December to January, reaching levels 14 percent higher than the same time last year and significantly higher than five-year average and pre-crisis levels. Meanwhile, in Amanat al Asimah, the monthly average cost of the MFB increased by 5 percent from December to January. Higher prices of staple foods in Aden were driven primarily by a five percent depreciation of the Aden-based Rial against the USD and the announcement of the increase in the customs exchange rate. However, given price controls for wheat grain and flour that are enforced by the local authorities, wheat flour prices remained stable in SBA areas from December to January. Prices of eggs have also increased nationally, driven by typical declines in domestic production due to higher production costs in the winter.

    Figure 6

    Cost of minimum food basket (MFB)
    Line chart showing cost of minimum food basket (MFB). Discussed in National Overivew.

    Aden and Amanat al Asimah (Sana’a city), January 2015 to second week of February 2023

    Source: FAO Market Dashboard

    High food prices and limited income-earning opportunities remain the main factors impacting household purchasing power. On average at the national level, agricultural and unskilled labor wages in February were similar to last year (1 percent and 2 percent lower, respectively), according to FAO. However, trends were mixed across governorates. Meanwhile, the cost of the MFB in February was 50 percent higher than the same time last year and was generally higher than last year in most governorates. During February, an unskilled casual or agricultural laborer could only cover 39-41 percent of the cost of the MFB after five full days of work at prevailing wage rates and prices. Compared to last year, trends in purchasing power were highly mixed across governorates (Figure 7).

    Figure 7

    Terms of trade in February 2023, expressed as the percent change from February 2022
    terms of trade are lower than the comparison period in most cases

    Showing the amount of wheat flour (kg) that can be purchased from one day’s wages (for laborers) or the sale of a one-year-old sheep (for pastoralists) at prevailing wage rates and prices

    Source: FEWS NET using data from FAO

    Approximately 13 million people (around 40 percent of Yemen’s population) continue to rely on regular distributions of humanitarian food assistance as a key source of food. However, given insufficient funding, WFP continues to distribute reduced rations equivalent to approximately 65 percent of the minimum food basket at a reduced distribution frequency of one distribution approximately every six weeks. This compares to the approximate 80 percent rations that were distributed monthly to most beneficiaries in 2021, prior to scale-down in 2022. As a result, most beneficiary households are expected to be receiving assistance equivalent to approximately 43 percent of their total monthly minimum kilocalorie needs. However, assistance is also commonly shared within communities, spreading assistance even thinner. While most beneficiaries are reached with in-kind benefits (Figure 8), a small proportion (largely in IRG areas) are reached with cash transfers. The latest Food Security and Agriculture Cluster (FSAC) guidelines recommend that the monthly cash transfer value in IRG areas should remain unchanged at 131,500 YER for a household of seven, while the monthly cash transfer value in SBA areas should be reduced to 65,500 YER, a five percent decrease in comparison to the last review in November 2022.

    With half of all health facilities partially damaged or completely destroyed by the conflict, the return of diseases such as cholera, diphtheria, polio, and measles illustrates the gravity of the situation. After more than 17 years, polio and measles have resurfaced in Yemen due to lack of access to vaccinations, improper storage of vaccines, and families’ reluctance to vaccinate their children. Around 1,400 measles cases were reported between January and June 2022 in seven IRG-controlled governorates, including Aden with seven deaths; in areas under SBA control, a total 18,597 cases of measles were reported, with 131 deaths during 2022.

    Figure 8

    Beneficiaries reached with emergency food assistance, by modality
    HFA distribution has declined in 2022

    Assistance by WFP and partners, July 2021 to December 2022

    Source: FEWS NET using data from WFP

    Current Food Security Outcomes

    Ongoing ground conflict, landmines, and overall economic decline continue to significantly limit income-earning opportunities in Yemen. In the highlands, rural households are likely to have access to some income from land preparation activities, while rural households in the lowlands and in the eastern plateau are likely accessing some limited food and income from the recently concluded cereal harvest and the ongoing harvest of vegetables. Despite ongoing humanitarian assistance, millions of poor households are likely unable to meet their needs due to the above-average prices of food and essential non-food commodities. Poor households with limited or no income sources are likely resorting to severe coping strategies such as frequently skipping meals. Given years of eroded coping capacity, millions of households across the country are likely facing food consumption gaps. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes are expected to be widespread at the area level, with worst-affected households across the country facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) or worse outcomes. In Marib and Hajjah, Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are expected given the impacts of conflict (particularly in Marib, where conflict is ongoing) and large populations of displaced households who are highly dependent on food assistance.

    Assumptions

    The most likely scenario from February to September 2023 is based on the following national-level assumptions:

    • Though negotiations are expected to continue, a renewal of the truce is not expected during the projection period, as renewing the truce is conditioned on demands (including the payment of civil servant salaries in SBA areas and the reopening of roads in Taizz) that are unlikely to be met in the scenario period, particularly given the growing lack of trust between the warring parties.
    • Ground fighting is expected to remain near current high levels in the main frontline areas (including Taizz, Al Dhale’e, Hajjah, Lahj, and Marib) throughout the projection period. However, the re-escalation of overall fighting (including air/drone strikes and shelling) to pre-truce levels is unlikely due to recent strategic shifts toward intensified economic warfare (including SBA targeting of IRG oil infrastructure) and international pressure to avoid the re-escalation.
    • Access constraints are expected to continue to hinder or prevent travel along many major trade routes, due to ongoing insecurity in frontline areas and authorities’ bureaucratic requirements at checkpoints.
    • Provision of emergency food assistance is expected to continue at current levels throughout the projection period, with most assistance distributions occurring approximately once every six weeks, and with rations per distribution likely to remain equivalent to approximately 65 percent of households’ minimum kilocalorie requirements1. This means that beneficiary households’ will likely meet 43 percent of their energy needs, on average, from assistance, prior to any sharing. The FSAC will continue to regularly update cash transfer values to keep up with inflation. However, given high global assistance needs and inflation in donor countries, a reduction in assistance to levels similar to what was the case throughout most of 2022 – with most distributions occurring once every six weeks and rations per distribution equivalent to as little as 50 percent of households’ one-month kilocalorie requirements – remains possible.
    • Given expectations that the truce will not be renewed, the slow progress of back-channel talks, and recent escalation in tensions, SBA forces are expected to continue targeting oil infrastructure and effectively blocking oil exports from IRG areas throughout the majority of the projection period. As such, oil production and exports – and, ultimately, government revenue and foreign exchange inflows – are likely to remain minimal. The easing of the inspection mechanism on shipments entering through Red Sea ports and the relatively lower customs exchange rate is also expected to incentivize traders to import through Red Sea ports in SBA areas, reducing IRG customs revenue.
    • The recent 1 billion USD deposit by Saudi Arabia into the Aden-based central bank in late February – which boosted the IRG’s foreign currency reserves – is expected to maintain the Aden-based central bank’s ability to conduct foreign currency auctions on a regular basis despite the cessation of oil exports.
    • The ongoing currency auction mechanism will continue to provide importers with essential access to foreign currency through controlled channels, resulting in some support for the value of the Aden-based Rial in IRG areas. However, inflows of IRG revenue and foreign exchange are likely to remain at low levels: lower than last year and even farther below pre-crisis levels. This is expected to continue to put pressure on the value of the Aden-based Rial. Additionally, there remains uncertainty around the withdrawal mechanism and use of the 1 billion USD deposit, given approval requirements for spending the money. Overall, the value of the Aden-based Rial against the USD is expected to continue to exhibit notable volatility through remaining overall stable given the 1 billion USD deposit, at levels slightly above 1,200 YER/USD.
    • Following recent trends, the value of the YER in SBA areas is expected to remain stable at around 540 to 550 YER/USD.
    • Given the expectation of high global crude oil prices due to the ongoing growing demand for crude oil by China and India, alongside Russia cutting oil output by 500,000 barrels per day beginning March 2023, fuel prices will likely increase nationwide during the projection period.  
    • Overall, national staple food import levels are expected to remain stable throughout the projection period. The share of food imported through IRG-controlled ports is expected to remain similar to current levels. However, some uncertainty exists given the recent easing of the inspection mechanism for ships entering the Red Sea ports and the lower customs exchange rate (relative to ports in IRG areas), which may incentivize traders to import through the Red Sea ports in SBA areas.
    • Given the recent agreement easing importation requirements, the share of non-food, non-fuel commodities (such as construction materials, textiles, and electronics) imported through the Red Sea ports is expected to increase, while the share imported through IRG-controlled ports is expected to decrease.
    • Given the expectation for rising fuel prices, prices of both staple foods (including wheat grain, wheat flour, vegetable oil, rice, and sugar) and luxury foods are expected to increase further nationwide, driven by rising costs of importation and transportation, mainly during the June to September period. However, food price increases are expected to be more moderate in SBA-controlled areas due to strict monetary policy, price controls, and recent developments facilitating imports through Red Sea ports.
    • According to FEWS NET’s integrated price projections, prices of staple wheat flour (imported) in the reference market of Aden are expected to increase overall throughout the projection period, reaching levels above 1,000 YER/kg by September 2023, and remaining over 30 percent higher than prices recorded in the previous year. Expectations for rising prices are due to expectations for higher transportation costs due to rising fuel prices and increasing global prices. Wheat flour prices in other IRG-controlled areas may not follow the same trend witnessed in Aden, though prices should increase and will vary among governorates, based on household demand. Prices of other food and essential non-food commodities are also expected to increase. In Amanat al Asimah, wheat flour prices are expected to increase slightly, largely in the second half of the projection period, as SBA authorities increase price ceilings in response to rising global prices. During February to May, prices are expected to be 12 percent higher, on average, compared to last year, while prices from June to September are expected to remain five percent above during the same period in 2022.
    • During the month of Ramadan (late March to April) income from cross-border remittances is expected to seasonally increase but will likely remain below five-year-average levels during the projection period due to restrictive Saudi labor policies, including taxes adversely affecting employment prospects for Yemeni citizens.
    • Income from domestic remittances is expected to remain similar to 2022 and below pre-conflict levels. This is due to the continued economic decline, disruption of livelihoods, and declining purchasing power among Yemenis.
    • Based on past seasons with Indo-Pacific Sea surface temperatures similar to those forecast in 2023, cumulative rainfall in Yemen’s March to May 2023 first rainy season will likely be below average overall. Cumulative rainfall in Yemen’s July to September second rainy season is assumed to be average, though uncertainty exists given the long lead-time of the forecast.
    • Risk of cyclone strikes peaks from mid-April to mid-June and from October to December. During the peak period from mid-April to May 2023, the risk of cyclone strikes – and associated flooding in Socotra and the southern Aden Gulf coast – will likely be above average due to above-average sea surface temperatures in the Arabian Sea.
    • In central highland areas, harvesting of wheat and barley is expected around May/June and harvesting of millet is expected in September. In the northern highlands, harvesting of wheat and barley is expected around March/April. In the eastern plateau and along the Arabian Sea coast, harvesting of sorghum and millet is expected around June/July. In the central highlands, some harvesting of maize is expected in September. In the Tihama Plain, harvesting of sorghum is expected around August. Cereal production will slightly improve food availability for rural farming households for up to three months following the harvest.
    • The June-September main fruit and vegetable production season in the highlands is expected to provide rural poor households with increased access to food and income from labor opportunities along the production and marketing chains, also supporting income-earning from petty trade in urban areas. In lowland areas, income from labor opportunities will slightly improve during the fruit and vegetable production season from February to May before declining during the June to September agricultural off-season. Overall, income from agricultural labor will likely be similar to recent years but below pre-crisis levels.
    • Vegetation and pasture conditions are likely to continue to deteriorate as is typical through February/March 2023 following the dry season, reaching near normal levels in many areas but remaining above average in areas where positive NDVI anomalies are currently large. Conditions are then anticipated to improve again from April and June 2023 as is typical alongside precipitation during the 2023 first rainy season, decline slightly in July following dryer weather, and then improve seasonally in August and September/October after the start of the second rainy season. Improved pasture conditions will likely encourage livestock breeders to fatten livestock to sell them at higher prices during Ramadan, as well as providing better food from own production.
    • Income from livestock sales will likely be near average levels and will likely increase as is typical during Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr (March to April), and Eid Al-Adha (June to July) due to seasonally high demand and prices. In lowland areas, lack of available pasture and high fodder prices from May to July will likely drive poor pastoralist households to sell their livestock at lower prices to cover production costs.
    • Harvesting of qat is expected year-round in higher elevation areas. Qat production is expected to be near average given the prioritization of this cash crop. Real income from qat sales and from labor opportunities along the production and marketing chains are expected to be near average.
    • Income from fishing will likely remain similar to last year but below pre-conflict levels, mainly due to limited access to fishing grounds and rising costs of inputs, including fuel. Income from fishing will likely be at seasonally low levels during the local monsoon seasons (through March along the Red Sea coast, and from May to September along the Gulf of Aden coast and Socotra).
    • Real income from casual labor is expected to remain similar to previous years and below pre-conflict levels due to the impacts of protracted conflict and economic decline on livelihoods and job opportunities.
    • Delays and non-payment of government salaries are expected to continue given the drop in public revenue due to suspended crude oil exports, with income from government salaries expected to remain similar to recent years and below pre-conflict levels. In particular, military and security forces in IRG areas will likely continue to receive salary and pension payments intermittently.

    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    During the holy month of Ramadan in April, food consumption is expected to slightly improve among many poor households due to increased social and charitable support in the form of food, money (zakat), and clothing. However, due to reduced available resources after years of above-average prices, the ability of many middle-income and better-off households to provide support is expected to be constrained, and some poor households are likely to continue facing gaps in their ability to meet their needs.

    In Al Hudaydah and, to a lesser extent, other areas under SBA control, increasing imports of non-food commodities is expected to gradually create better job opportunities for many poor households. On the other hand, this will likely further limit income-earning opportunities for workers in the ports of Aden in IRG areas, especially among daily wage earners. In addition, the decline in IRG revenue is expected to further erode the provision of public services and increase the potential for civil unrest.

    Throughout the projection period, rural households will also experience some seasonal increases in access to food and income in line with local agricultural seasons. However, stocks of own-produced food are typically exhausted in one to two months. Notably, the July to August period is an agricultural off-season in most lowland areas, and access to seasonal food and income from agricultural production and associated labor opportunities will be at seasonally low levels.

    Throughout the outlook period, fuel prices are likely to rise further due to higher global prices, further straining livelihoods and adding upward pressure on food prices nationwide. Food prices are also expected to increase further, particularly in IRG areas given the absence of price controls. These factors are added to the continued current reduced humanitarian aid quotas for millions, and consumption gaps are likely to widen for many as coping capacity depletes. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes are expected to remain widespread throughout the outlook period, with additional households likely to deteriorate to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and worse outcomes across the country, particularly during the lowlands’ local lean season during the July to August period. Though the population facing consumption gaps will likely decrease in Al Hudaydah alongside improvement in income-earning opportunities associated with increasing imports, area-level Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes are expected to persist in Al Hudaydah governorate, driven by impacts of conflict in the south of the governorate and seasonally low levels of income-earning opportunities in lowland rural areas. Meanwhile, in highland areas, some improvement is likely by April following the start of the local agricultural season, when income-earning opportunities will increase. Given this and the impacts of Ramadan, area-level outcomes are expected to improve to Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) in Hajjah by April. Meanwhile, in Marib, Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are expected to persist given that it hosts the largest population of displaced households and given expectations for continued impacts of conflict on livelihoods and assistance provision, particularly in rural Marib Al wadi.

    Events that Might Change the Outlook

    Table 1
    Possible events over the next eight months that could change the most-likely scenario.
    AreaEventImpact on food security outcomes
    SBA-controlled areasPeace agreement reached between KSA and SBAReduced levels of conflict and facilitation of imports through Red Sea ports would continue to support improvements in business activity, income-earning, and decreases in food prices. The ongoing negotiation and the future of reaching an agreement is linked with the IRG paying civil servant salary payments in SBA areas, which would significantly boost income-earning for more than one million people. Access constraints for traders and humanitarians would likely reduce. The number of households facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes would likely decline and many areas would likely see a shift to Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes over time.
    IRG-controlled areasDelay in the release of the 1 billion USD depositGiven the drop in revenue from oil exports and imports customs, the CBY-Aden would not be able to maintain its foreign exchange reserves, likely limiting its capacity to conduct the currency auction on a regular basis. This would increase traders’ reliance on the parallel currency market. The local currency would most likely depreciate, driving increasing prices of food and non-food commodities. Declining food import levels would be possible should traders’ access to foreign currency be significantly challenged. Given rising prices, millions of households in IRG-controlled areas would likely face declining food access and an increased number of households would likely face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes.

    Areas of Concern

    Marib Governorate

    Marib governorate is situated in central Yemen, to the northeast of Amanat al Asimah (Figure 9). Territory is split between IRG and SBA control. The IRG retains control of Marib city, Al Wadi, and parts of Raghwan and Harib, while the SBA controls most of the western districts of Harib, Al Qaramish, Bidbadah, Rahabah, Mahliyah, Al Jubah, and Majzar.

    The oil- and gas-rich governorate is characterized by diverse livelihoods, including the production of sorghum, millet, vegetables, fruits, tobacco, mustard, and qat, coupled with the rearing of livestock. Crop and livestock production are concentrated in the high-potential eastern Marib Al Wadi district. Meanwhile, about 70 percent of households in the governorate derive some income from government salaries or wage labor, mainly in Marib city where greater income-earning opportunities exist. Households from SBA areas can send household members to work in IRG-controlled territory of Marib city and Marib Al Wadi given the greater availability of livelihood and income-earning opportunities, though movement can be challenged if conflict flares up.

    Most of Marib remained secure throughout the early years of the protracted conflict that began in 2015, with the exception of the frontline Sirwah district. However, in 2020, the conflict spread to much of the rest of the governorate as SBA forces push eastward toward Marib city. Marib governorate has become increasingly central to the larger conflict as it is centrally located and rich in oil and gas. Conflict in frontline areas has disrupted local livelihoods, economic systems, and trade.

    According to UNHCR, Marib is currently home to 49,415 IDP households (around 345,905 individuals) living across 190 settlements in Marib Al Wadi, Sirwah, and Harib districts. A large share of the residents of Marib city – where income-earning opportunities are more favorable due to oil and gas production – are also internally displaced. Many IDPs also live in Marib Al Wadi because of its diverse agricultural opportunities and greater distance from the frontlines in the western areas. An estimated 50-90 percent of the governorate’s total population are displaced; available estimates vary considerably due to differing population estimate methodologies and vastly different definitions of the point in time at which a displaced household transitions to becoming a local resident. Approximately 80 percent of IDP households are female-headed.

    Displaced households are typically separated from assets, livelihoods, and, often, social support structures, making them more vulnerable to shocks. Many displaced households in Marib have experienced displacement multiple times, with households in displacement settlements particularly vulnerable to weather hazards (especially flooding) and the shifting frontlines of conflict, both of which have caused multiple waves of re-displacement in recent years. The large population of poor IDPs has also put increasing strain on host communities’ and host households’ available resources.

    Though intensity of conflict declined during the truce, Marib continued to be impacted by some ongoing armed clashes and shelling, according to data from Intelyse. On the other hand, airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition and the SBA – which previously included missile strikes on residents of the city – essentially ceased during the truce. While conflict has not re-escalated to its former levels since the expiration of the truce, recent fighting from early January to late February 2023 has led to multiple new displacements, with hundreds of IDPs moving across camps in areas bordering Marib city and Marib Al Wadi.

    While Marib is rich in oil and gas reserves, it has experienced recurrent fuel shortages and price shocks, similar to other governorates, due to the centralized control of fuel and revenue by the SBA. High fuel prices continue to put upward pressure on the costs of most other commodities and services, including transportation, food processing, water pumping for irrigation, and agricultural inputs. Official prices of both diesel and petrol declined from December to January, according to data from FAO, and throughout January and in February 2023 were recorded at 160 YER/L and 175 YER/L, respectively, similar to the same time last year and 14-16 percent below the four-year (2019-22) average. However, households are forced to purchase fuel at higher unofficial prices when fuel is not available at official stations, particularly impacting SBA areas. Unofficial prices of diesel and petrol increased from December to January, likely linked to increased demand by farmers during the cropping season. After declining from January to February, unofficial diesel prices stood at 1,287 YER/L, 5 percent higher than the same time last year and more than double the four-year average, while unofficial petrol prices stood at 932 YER/L, 30 percent lower than last year but 63 percent above the four-year average.

    The impacts of the conflict continue to impede access to cultivation land and rangelands due to active fighting, landmines, and population displacement. Above-average prices of agricultural inputs and fuel also continue to limit crop and livestock production. However, in limited areas, ongoing wheat and barley harvests are temporarily increasing access to food and income for some households. However, as is the case elsewhere in Yemen, most households produce only limited amounts of food for their own consumption and therefore remain highly dependent on market purchases of imported staple cereals throughout most of the year. Prices of imported wheat flour are lower than prices of locally produced wheat flour due to higher local production costs.

    On average across the governorate, retail prices of imported wheat flour remain significantly above average, though somewhat lower than last year, according to data from FAO. After remaining stable from January to February, February prices averaged 1,087 YER/kg, 15 percent lower than last year but 85 percent above the four-year average. However, as is the case nationally, households in IRG-controlled areas of the governorate (Al Wadi, Marib city, Raghwan, and Al Jubah) face significantly higher food prices compared to households in SBA areas (Harib, Al Qaramish, Bidbadah, Rahabah, Mahliyah, and Majzar).

    Given the large displaced population with limited livelihood opportunities and eroded purchasing power, many households depend heavily on emergency food assistance as a primary source of food. As is the case elsewhere, distributions are occurring on a cyclical basis, with beneficiaries reached approximately once every six weeks. According to data from FSAC, 217,381 individuals were targeted with emergency humanitarian food assistance in January 2023. About 83 percent received rations equivalent to 50-60 percent of one month’s minimum energy requirements, around 13 percent received less than 50 percent of one month’s minimum energy requirements, and the remaining 4 percent received more than 80 percent of one month’s minimum energy requirements. The provision of non-food assistance is also high amongst displaced populations in the governorate.

    Many households in Marib – including among the large displaced population – have lost livestock and are unable to access typical food and income sources. The value of salaries and labor wages has been eroded by high inflation, constraining household purchasing power. While the recent wheat and barley harvests are supporting limited increases in food availability, current above-average food and non-food commodity prices and limited access to income are constraining households’ ability to meet their food needs from market purchases. Given reduced humanitarian food assistance ration sizes and distribution frequency, a large share of the population is likely employing coping strategies such as purchasing food on credit, borrowing, and reducing non-food expenditures. Many poor households with limited remaining coping capacity are likely being forced to engage in more damaging livelihood coping strategies such as reducing essential expenditures (primarily agricultural inputs and healthcare) or are facing food consumption gaps. Though data are not representative, WFP mVAM data indicate an overall deteriorating trend in food consumption (as measured by the Food Consumption Score) from January 2021 to December 2022. Overall, many worst-affected poor households who have limited or no income – including displaced households living in settlements who are highly dependent on assistance – are expected to be facing consumption gaps due to inability to compensate for assistance reductions since early 2022. Additionally, according to key informants, a significant number of households in conflict-affected Marib Al Wadi and Harib often have no access to humanitarian assistance due to conflict-related access constraints, driving Emergency (IPC Phase 4) area-level outcomes.

    Assumptions

    In addition to the national-level assumptions, the following assumptions apply to this area of concern:

    • The March to April wheat and barley harvest is expected to somewhat ease the heavy reliance on markets from February to May. However, household dependence on markets is expected to rise beginning in June through September, coinciding with the local lean season.
    • Staple food prices are likely to continue increasing, driven by rising fuel prices, high transportation costs, and impeded supply of staple foods due to a limited number of traders in conflict-affected areas. 
    • The influx of new IDPs into Marib (particularly Sirwah district) is expected to continue, driven primarily by ongoing conflict. Many IDPs are also likely to move toward Marib city and Al Wadi to avoid conflict and overcrowding in other camps. However, population movement to Marib city and Al Wadi will likely put pressure on existing resources that are already stretched, increasing competition for limited income-earning opportunities, while precipitating tensions among households.
    • As has been the case in recent past years, episodic rainfall events and flooding during Yemen’s first (March to May) and second (July to September) rainy seasons are likely to result in flooding in IDP camps and potentially in Marib city. This will likely lead to destruction of shelters and assets and damage to crops and livestock, constraining local supply while exacerbating pressure on market prices.
    • Provision of emergency food assistance is likely to continue at current levels.

    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    The wheat and barley harvest in March/April will likely provide many poor households and IDPs with a limited supply of food from local production and income from crop sales and wage labor. Social support and livestock sales during Ramadan will also increase access to food and income around this time. However, crop and livestock production is expected to remain well below pre-conflict levels due to the impacts of protracted conflict on these livelihood activities, including by limiting access to land and pastures, driving high production costs, and eroding productive asset ownership. Most agricultural households are likely to exhaust food stocks before the onset of the lean season in the July to September period.

    Throughout the projection period, conflict in Marib is also expected to continue disrupting livelihoods. Meanwhile, conflict nationwide will continue to displace households into Marib. Households in Marib who have been directly impacted by conflict – including due to displacement – will remain in need of humanitarian assistance due to disruption in access to typical food and income sources. However, humanitarian assistance is expected to continue at reduced levels, leaving many poor households dependent on markets. Given years of high staple food and fuel prices and eroded coping capacity – exacerbated by reduced assistance rations since early 2022 – many poor households will likely employ severe food consumption-based coping strategies, including skipping meals, particularly amongst recently displaced households. Additionally, poor households in areas impacted by active conflict (especially frontline areas of Marib Al Wadi) will likely continue to experience disruptions to assistance delivery, resulting in periods of wide food consumption gaps. More than 20 percent of the governorate’s population is expected to continue facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes – characterized by wide food consumption gaps and/or severe livelihood coping strategies – throughout the projection period.

    Shabwah Governorate

    Current Situation

    Shabwah governorate is located in the southeastern part of Yemen along the Arabian Sea coast, with Ataq as its capital. The governorate is the third largest in the country in terms of area, though is sparsely populated, with approximately 730,000 inhabitants in its seventeen districts. The main economic activities are oil production, crop production, and fishing. Livestock rearing and beekeeping are also important enterprises across many of Shabwah’s livelihood zones.

    Poor households typically earn income from casual labor opportunities, generated primarily by the governorate’s oil and gas industry, supplemented by remittances and, in rural areas, crop, livestock, and fish sales. Government salaries and pensions are also sources of income for many households, although only minimally as they remain unadjusted for inflation.

    Since 2022, active conflict has led to the destruction of civilian property, farms, and livelihoods. Though levels of conflict in Shabwah remain lower than elsewhere in Yemen, inter-tribal conflict has risen significantly in Shabwah because of ongoing fighting between local factions within the IRG in eastern oil-rich areas of the governorate. This insecurity has disrupted the livelihoods of many households who directly or indirectly earn income through oil production and export.

    According to ACLED, all main frontline areas in Yemen were relatively calm during the truce period, except for areas along Shabwah’s frontlines at the border with Marib, including Ain, Bayhan, and Usaylan districts.  During the truce period, the total number of armed clashes was nearly triple the number reported in the same period of last year (October 2021 to February 2022). Reported incidents of other types also increased significantly: air/drone strikes by 75 percent; shelling and artillery missile strikes by 43 percent; and remote explosives and landmine incidents by 367 percent. More recently, the number of reported armed clashes in Shabwah increased by 125 percent in January 2023 compared to the previous month. This rise was attributed mainly to an increase in skirmishes between STC forces and tribal factions in Ataq and other districts over qat taxes and territorial control.

    Shabwah is home to several of Yemen’s active oil fields. Oil refining in Safer and Bayhan districts remained largely undisrupted by conflict since its outbreak 2015. However, oil and gas production and exports through Shabwah’s Bir Ali Terminal came to a halt in late October/November, due to SBA drone attacks on oil production facilities in Shabwah and Hadramout.

    Shabwah’s markets are almost entirely supplied by imports due to small agricultural landholdings and high production costs. As is the case across other IRG-controlled areas, depreciation of the Rial continues to drive costs of imports higher, with price increases translated to the consumer. Given low production volumes, the poorest households are heavily dependent on  markets year-round. Following the second harvest season of locally produced sorghum in Shabwah, prices of locally produced cereals remained around 50 percent higher than their imported equivalents, on average. According to data from FAO, locally produced wheat flour was available for 1,833 YER/kg on average in January 2023, while imported wheat flour was only 1,135 YER/kg (Figure 11).

    Figure 11

    Prices of wheat flour (imported)
    prices are projected to increase

    August 2022 to January 2023 (observed) and February to September 2023 (projected)

    Source: FAO (observed) and FEWS NET (projections)

    Limited availability and high costs of agricultural and livestock inputs are a key factor constraining access to food and income from these important livelihood activities. The cost of pesticides in the rural markets of Bayhan and Mayfaa districts increased by 9 percent from August to December 2022, to reach levels 20 percent higher than the same time last year, according to FAO. Availability of vegetable seeds (e.g., tomato, onion, okra) decreased by an overall 24 percent year-on-year in December 2022, except for chilly seeds, which rose by 33 percent. Reduced seed availability was compounded by a 68 percent rise in ploughing costs in Shabwah, according to FAO data. Meanwhile, prices of sorghum fodder and concentrate feed in December 2022 were 52 and 46 percent higher, respectively, compared to December 2021. Higher costs of livestock feed reduce profits for pastoralist households and are likely leading to weakened livestock productivity and body conditions among households who cannot afford sufficient feed.

    Households in Shabwah typically face adverse seasonal weather conditions including dryness and, during the rainy seasons, flooding. Most recently, from June to August 2022, heavy rain and widespread flooding between affected nearly 1,000 households, further damaging livelihoods and increasing humanitarian needs. During the past production cycle, the planting of cereals, especially sorghum, wheat, and barley, was temporally suspended by farmers with no irrigation facilities due to drought. There was a critical reduction in fodder availability and most farmers sold their animals at reduced prices.

    According to data from FSAC, 281,480 individuals were reached with emergency food assistance in January 2023. All beneficiaries were reached with cash transfers. Nearly all received rations equivalent to 50-60 percent of the MFB.

    Following years of eroded livelihoods, above-average food prices, and dependence on humanitarian assistance, the recent intensification of conflict and cessation of oil exports has resulted in additional significant damage to livelihoods and losses of income-earning opportunities. Many poor households are struggling to meet their needs given high dependence on markets for food. The poorest households are likely facing food consumption gaps and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes, with Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes expected at the area level. Poor households in Ain district are likely to be among the worst affected due to impacts of active conflict.

    Assumptions

    In addition to the national-level assumptions, the following assumptions apply to this area of concern:

    • Political tensions in the region will likely further intensify during the outlook period, putting the livelihoods of more households at risk due to continued conflict.
    • Fuel prices are expected to increase, particularly in remote areas of Shabwah, driven by rising global prices.
    • Staple food prices are expected to increase throughout the projection period, driven largely by rising fuel prices.
    • From February to May, livestock demand and prices are expected to be at seasonally high levels, associated with Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr.
    • Beginning in June, livestock body conditions and milk production will likely improve following the first rainy season.
    • Fishing activities in the coastal districts will likely remain limited due to insecurity and higher costs of fuel and equipment. Additionally, the recent IRG decision to ban oil exports will likely significantly limit income from fishing during the projection period. Overall, demand for fishing labor is expected to remain low throughout the outlook period.
    • The disruption in oil exports is expected to continue significantly reducing income-earning for households previously engaged in labor associated with oil production and exports, particularly in the east of the governorate.
    • The provision of emergency food assistance is expected to continue near current levels.

    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    Throughout the projection period, ongoing conflict will likely continue to disrupt livelihoods and restrict access to markets due to road closures, resulting in higher transportation costs. Rising prices of food and essential non-food commodities are expected to further reduce household purchasing power, compounded by reduced access to income from casual labor opportunities in the oil and gas sector and the fishing sector. Though wages are generally expected to increase somewhat due to inflation, increases are not expected to keep up with the rising cost of food and non-food commodities. Concurrently, government salaries and pensions are expected to remain unadjusted to inflation and only paid intermittently.

    As households exhaust limited available resources, a growing number of poor households will likely rely on increasingly severe livelihood and food consumption-based coping strategies. In the June to September period, household food stocks are expected to be generally depleted given the lack of recent agricultural production. Though humanitarian assistance will continue to provide an important source of food for a notable share of the population, the share of the population targeted in Shabwah is lower than in other governorates of Yemen. Given this and reduced rations since early 2022, assistance will be insufficient to meet the needs of all households. As a result, Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes are expected to at the area level throughout the projection period, with the number of households facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes expected to increase in the June to September period during the lowlands’ agricultural off-season.


    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year
    Seasonal calendar for a typical year in Yemen.

    Source: FEWS NET


    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes in Areas Receiving Significant Levels of Humanitarian Assistance

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Yemen Food Security Outlook February to September 2023: Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes likely to persist in Marib amid conflict and reduced assistance, 2023.

    1

    Cash transfer benefits are generally adjusted for household size, whereas in-kind and commodity voucher benefits are generally benchmarked to a household size of seven, regardless of household size.

    To project food security outcomes, FEWS NET develops a set of assumptions about likely events, their effects, and the probable responses of various actors. FEWS NET analyzes these assumptions in the context of current conditions and local livelihoods to arrive at a most likely scenario for the coming eight months. Learn more here.

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