Yemen is a country that is extremely struggling with hunger. Even before any external disputes started in early 2015, it was one of the poorest countries in the Middle East. With an average life expectancy below 64, the nation is ranked 168th out of 188 for human development.
Now there is an estimated 19 million people going hungry and that’s an increase of more than 20 percent in the past nine months. This is according to an analysis released by the United Nations and humanitarian partners. For a country that has a total population of roughly 27 million, there is no surprise that Yemen is said to be on the brink of catastrophic famine.
“20 of the countries 22 governorates are in ‘emergency’ or ‘crisis’ food insecurity phases and almost two-thirds of the population are now facing hunger and urgently require life and livelihood saving assistance” the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation said in press release. They also said that “Yemen is currently one of the worst hunger crises in the world.”
In February, the UN said they would need $1.2 billion to help avert famine in Yemen, with only 15 percent being funded by April. During April the World Food Programme could only afford to feed 3 million men, women and children in Yemen, due to lack of resources and late arrival of food shipments.
In May, nearly 2.2 million children were malnourished, including half a million being severely malnourished and at imminent risk of death. This situation has only worsened over the following months, and with the attention of the public being on other catastrophes around the world, Yemen are not getting the help and support they need.
Many professionals have also weighed in with their opinion, with one of Europe’s most experienced diplomats saying he was “shocked to the bones” by the hunger he saw in Yemen. Jan Egeland is currently the head of the Norwegian Refugee Council and has condemned “this gigantic failure of international diplomacy” and has said that only 3 million people out of the 7 million who were starving had been fed last month.
Sadly, it’s the children that are bearing the brunt of this, with 80% in desperate need of aid and 2 million suffering from acute malnutrition. War, hunger and “the world’s worst cholera outbreak” have combined to create the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, and that’s a fact that not many people are aware of. Yemen is in urgent need of aid and this is something social media can play a huge part in.
Many big organisations are now starting to aid the issues that are faced in Yemen with fundraising projects, events and campaigns to raise funds and awareness. For a country lacking on basic necessities, every little help and with the support of a wider audience, we can all help to alleviate the pain and suffering of kids, families and everyone in Yemen.