After six months of conflict, nearly 5,000 deaths and the forced displacement of more than 1.4 million people, Yemen continues to sink into violence. Action Against Hunger appeals to the international community to act quickly. The blockade that is starving and endangering the Yemeni population, who are caught between air strikes and ground fighting, must urgently be lifted.
A critical situation for an already battered population
Since the conflict began, Action Against Hunger has managed to keep approximately 70 per cent of its activities in nutrition and health in the governorates of Hodeidah and Hajjah, in the country's west. Despite the logistical difficulties and extreme security environment, mobile teams continue to treat cases of malnutrition and infant illness, and to deliver pre- and post-natal care. Clemence Malet, the head of our nutrition and health department in Yemen is concerned: "Since 2014, the nutritional situation in our intervention areas exceeded the critical threshold defined by the World Health Organisation and it is feared that rising prices, scarcity of goods and forced displacements will further aggravate the situation." Recent studies we conducted in the markets of some Yemeni cities reported an average increase in prices of basic foodstuffs in the order of 120 per cent. And over 150 per cent in the case of a 50kg flour bag.
The increase in the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in host communities already food insecure jeopardises an important part of the population, explains Arnaud Phipps, head of our programmes in the country. "Food and water are scarce and access to health care is extremely complicated in health centers forced to close for lack of fuel to supply electricity. All the elements are present for the humanitarian crisis to continue to deteriorate."
Ending the blockade and facilitating access to aid
While needs have continued to grow, the blockade and the destruction of part of the port of Hodeidah and working conditions in a highly volatile security environment prevents us from doing more. Attacks against humanitarian actors and obstructions in the context of the delivery of aid are increasing while many areas of the country remain inaccessible.
Action Against Hunger reiterates its call to all parties to the conflict: it is more urgent than ever to ensure unconditional humanitarian access to vulnerable populations and to lift the blockade. It is in these conditions that our teams will be able to meet the needs of the Yemeni population. The extension of our work, including water, sanitation, and hygiene as well as food security, is essential to prevent the risk of skyrocketing rates of malnutrition.