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The Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), Ertharin Cousin has appealed for access and resources to prevent famine in Yemen.

The latest Integrated Food Security Phase Analysis (IPC) analysis from March 1 estimated 17 million people – 60% of the total Yemeni population – are food insecure and require urgent humanitarian assistance.

“Among those, approximately 10.2 million people are in IPC Phase 3 ‘crisis’ and 6.8 million people are in IPC Phase 4 ‘emergency’. Nationally, the population under Emergency (IPC Phase 4) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) has increased by 20% compared to the results of the June 2016 IPC analysis,” the report says.

WFP says it reached a record number of 4.9 million food insecure people in Yemen in February but, because of inadequate funding, individual food rations were reduced to stretch assistance to more people.

WFP appealed for $950 million to support people in Yemen in 2017. It urgently requires $460 million of this to cover the food needs of the seven million people it aims to reach from March to August.

Ertharin Cousin visited Yemen recently and urged the international community to help prevent a famine, and asked the warring parties and authorities for access to people who will die if they do not receive food.

“The numbers tell us the story, with over 17 million people who are food insecure and approximately seven million people severely food insecure.

It is a race against time, and if we do not scale up assistance to reach those who are severely food insecure, we will see famine-like conditions in some of the worst-hit and inaccessible areas which means that people will die.”

Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme

UNICEF representative Dr Meritxell Relaño said levels of acute malnutrition are the highest in Yemen’s recent history.

“Of the 2.2 million children suffering from acute malnutrition, 462,000 are severely and acutely malnourished (SAM).

To put things in perspective, a SAM child is ten times more at risk of death if not treated on time than a healthy child his or her age.

The ongoing conflict and food insecurity will have long-term implications on the health and overall development of children in Yemen.”

Dr Meritxell Relaño, UNICEF Representative.

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