Due to budget shortfalls, more than four million Yemenis will receive less food assistance, aggravating one of the greatest humanitarian crises in history, the UN food agency warned on Friday.
According to the World Food Program, “a deeper funding crisis for its Yemen operations from the end of September onward…will force WFP to make difficult decisions about further cuts to our food assistance programs across the country in the coming months.”
Without new funding, it expects more than four million people will receive less food assistance, many of them women and children already suffering from some of the highest malnutrition rates in the world.
With major cuts announced across different programs, the actual number of people affected could be higher, AFP reported.
“We are confronted with the incredibly tough reality of making decisions to take food from the hungry to feed the starving,” said Richard Ragan, WFP’s Yemen representative.
The UN agency was “fully cognisant of the suffering these cuts will cause”, he said in a statement.
Seventeen million Yemenis are experiencing food insecurity, and one million women and 2.2 million children under five require treatment for acute malnutrition, the UN says.
For the next six months, WFP said it requires $1.05 billion in funding, only 28 percent of which has been secured.
“Yemen will remain one of WFP’s largest food assistance operations, but these cuts represent a significant reduction to the agency’s programs in the country,” it said.
“The funding shortages are happening at a time of more people becoming severely malnourished.”
The World Food Program was forced to slash food aid for 13 million Yemenis by more than 50 percent in June last year because of a funding squeeze.