European Union helps WFP provide life-saving assistance to vulnerable Yemenis

European Union helps WFP provide life-saving assistance to vulnerable Yemenis

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomes a EUR 45 million contribution from the European Union (EU) to provide vital food assistance to families in Yemen facing acute food shortages as conflict, economic collapse, and now the coronavirus pushes millions of people to the brink.

The EU funds will provide Yemeni families with life-saving assistance, allowing them to meet their basic food needs. With the EU’s support, WFP is already providing food, vouchers, and cash to millions of food-insecure Yemenis.

WFP is making cash assistance available in areas where market conditions allow so that people can purchase food and other items locally. Cash can help strengthen local markets, encouraging smallholders to be more productive, and build national capacity.

“With different crises converging to threaten the lives of people in Yemen, the humanitarian situation is more alarming than ever. The EU recently increased its support to enable partners such as WFP to continue providing life-saving assistance amid funding shortfalls,” said European Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič. “Yemen cannot wait. Impartial aid organisations must be given the means and unimpeded access to reach the millions of Yemenis who urgently need help.”

The EU’s support comes at a crucial moment as WFP works to maintain the current level of assistance in Yemen – the agency’s largest operation in the world – to prevent the humanitarian situation from deteriorating. An upsurge in fighting since the start of the year, coupled with a rapid deterioration in the economic situation and the threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic, is undermining previous improvements in the food security situation and is set to push many more people into severe levels of hunger.

“Yemen is on a knife’s edge. Millions are sliding toward starvation at a time when resources are severely stretched,” said WFP Executive Director David Beasley. “But the European Union has been a strong, consistent supporter of WFP’s work in Yemen, ensuring we have the resources to deliver emergency food assistance to the most vulnerable children, women and men.”

WFP’s food assistance throughout Yemen’s five-year civil war has saved millions from starvation. Since 2015, WFP has massively expanded its operation in the country from feeding around 1 million people at the start of the conflict to nearly 13 million now. The EU has been a strong supporter of WFP during that period, contributing a total of EUR 216.8 million while always emphasising the need for independent targeting and beneficiary registration to guarantee the transparency, accountability, and efficiency of aid delivery.

Responding to the acute humanitarian crisis in Yemen requires the support and action of many partners. Resources remain stretched and WFP may have to reduce its operations if additional funding is not secured soon. Without WFP food assistance, even more Yemeni people would face crippling levels of hunger. WFP needs $703 million (around EUR 594 million) to maintain this vital safety net for the next six months.

Original source: WFP