WFP’s Yemen Aid Programs Struggle with Severe Funding Shortage

WFP's Yemen Aid Programs Struggle with Severe Funding Shortage
Source: Official UN Website

The World Food Programme (WFP) has issued a grave alert, highlighting a significant funding crisis that poses a severe threat to its vital food assistance initiatives in conflict-stricken Yemen.

With a substantial funding deficit projected over the next six months, WFP is compelled to make extensive cutbacks across its major Yemen programs from the end of September. This includes scaling down food distribution, nutritional support, school feeding efforts, and resilience programs. The UN agency conveyed this urgent situation through an official statement on its website.

Presently, around 13.1 million Yemenis depend on WFP’s general food assistance, with the distributed rations accounting for roughly 40 percent of the standard food basket. However, the funding shortage could lead to reductions impacting up to 3 million people in northern Yemen and 1.4 million in the south, according to the WFP statement.

Already, WFP has scaled back its efforts to combat malnutrition, resulting in compromised access to aid for 1.4 million individuals. The program addressing moderate acute malnutrition has witnessed a 60 percent reduction, while the school feeding initiatives, initially designed to benefit 3.2 million children, will now only reach 1.8 million.

Richard Ragan, WFP’s representative in Yemen, underscored the gravity of the situation, emphasizing, “We are faced with the immensely challenging reality of deciding to allocate food from the hungry to support the starving, while millions of Yemenis continue to rely on us for their survival.”

This funding gap arises at a critical juncture, with escalating needs and an increasing number of Yemenis slipping into severe malnutrition.

Presently, only 28 percent of the required $1.05 billion funding for the next six months has been secured. WFP relies entirely on voluntary contributions and holds a pivotal role in Yemen as the leading humanitarian organization, providing sustenance and saving lives through food aid. The shortfall in funding will disrupt essential food assistance for millions of vulnerable Yemenis.

Since 2014, Yemen has been enmeshed in a devastating civil war, with Houthi rebels facing off against the internationally recognized government and its allies. This protracted conflict has disrupted Yemen’s food supply chain and exacerbated widespread famine, pushing the Arab world’s most impoverished nation to the brink of collapse.