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With needs high after August floods, funding shortages limit food and health interventions

  • Key Message Update
  • Yemen
  • September 2022
With needs high after August floods, funding shortages limit food and health interventions

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Amid current reductions in humanitarian food assistance, households face significant difficulty purchasing sufficient food to fulfill their kilocalorie needs due to the impact of above-average food prices on household purchasing power. Millions of poor households are likely experiencing food consumption gaps. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes are likely widespread, and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are currently expected in Hajjah, Marib, Lahj, and Abyan during the agricultural off-season. By November, seasonal improvements in access to food and income from the main harvest and slight increases in humanitarian assistance rations will likely improve area-level outcomes to Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) in Hajjah, Lahj, and Abyan. However, Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are expected to persist in Marib given the large population of displaced households with high dependence on assistance.

    • In July and August 2022, around 7.3 million and 3.0 million people, respectively, were assisted with general food assistance (GFA) by WFP as part of the fourth distribution cycle. In mid-September, WFP announced a slight increase in ration size for the fifth distribution cycle.[1] With this, most beneficiaries will receive rations equivalent to around 65 percent of one month’s energy requirements per distribution, compared to less than 50 percent in the previous cycle. Beneficiaries will also continue to be reached on a less-than-monthly basis (about once every six weeks) such that assistance rations will support around 40 percent of households’ monthly energy requirements, on average, compared to around 30 percent in the previous cycle. Beyond this, in some areas, beneficiaries will be expected to share any assistance received. According to key informants, the fifth distribution cycle has started in some areas as of late September.

    • Funding shortfalls have put more crucial humanitarian interventions at risk of either reduction or closure. As of late September, the Food Security and Agriculture Cluster of the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan was only 49 percent funded, and the Nutrition, Health, and WASH clusters were 32, 64, and 23 percent funded, respectively. These clusters provide services that help prevent and treat acute malnutrition, including by supporting sanitation and health. With recent flooding causing damage to water and sanitation systems — likely increasing the risk of waterborne diseases — reductions in access to health services will likely render households more vulnerable to the physiological impacts of concurrent high levels of acute food insecurity and contribute to increased rates of acute malnutrition in many areas. In Marib, over 258,000 individuals will be left without healthcare in September 2022. Meanwhile, though WFP’s school-feeding program resumed with the start of the new term in late July/early August, only around one third of the originally planned 1.9 million children will be reached in the current semester due to funding shortfalls.

    • In IRG-controlled areas, food prices remain high despite recent improved imports and relative stability of the local currency, likely attributable to high global prices at the time when the food was imported. In August 2022, the cost of the Minimum Food Basket (MFB) in Aden city reached 128,941 YER, according to data from FAO. This is the highest price recorded since December 2021 and is eight percent higher than the peak recorded in March 2022 following the Ukraine crisis. On the other hand, the cost of the MFB in the SBA reference market of Amanat al Asimah (Sana’a city) has declined by 19 percent since peaking in April/May 2022, likely attributable to improved food and fuel imports through the Red Sea ports. However, the cost of the MFB remained notably higher than in August 2021 in both Aden and Amanat al Asimah, by 62 percent and 18 percent, respectively.

    • Many poor households are still struggling to cope with the impacts of flooding in August, which caused widespread damage to household assets and disruption to livelihoods. In Al Jawf, for example, hundreds of livestock drowned in the floods, resulting in significant losses for many families who depend on livestock as a main source of food and income. Similarly, hundreds of grape vines were damaged in Bani Hushaesh and Khowlan districts of Sana’a governorate, with many farmers losing some or all of their grape harvest. Crops and fruit trees were damaged in many other areas as well — compromising farmers’ ability to earn income — and wet conditions are likely encouraging a resurgence of several plant and animal diseases. For instance, Fall Armyworms were recently reported in Sa’dah, Al Hudaydah, Ibb, Amran, and parts of the northern districts of Sana’a, threatening cereal crops such as sorghum, maize, millet, barley, and wheat.   

    • Despite ongoing discussions to extend the ceasefire agreement, media sources are reporting increased violence in September. Conflict incidents — including drone and shelling attacks that target civilian homes and farms and cause forced displacement — have been reported in many areas, including Marib, Hajjah, Taizz, Al Dhale’e, Al Bayda, and Al Hudaydah governorates. These events signal growing tensions between parties to the conflict, which could compromise further extension of the current truce. 

      • [1] 50 kilograms of wheat flour, 4 liters of cooking oil, and 3.5 kilograms of beans compared to 40kg of wheat flour, 3.7 L of cooking oil, and 3 kg of beans received by many beneficiaries in the previous cycle

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography. Learn more here.

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