Funding crisis forces UN Agency to Cut Food Rations for Conflict-Affected Yemenis

NEW YORK–(ENEWSPF)–28 April 2010 – The United Nations food agency will be forced to cut rations for tens of thousands of people affected by the conflict in north-western Yemen starting this Saturday because stocks have dwindled as a result of limited funding.

The UN World Food Programmed (WFP) reported today that it is facing a shortfall of nearly 70 per cent on its 2010 budget requirements for relief work in the conflict-affected Yemeni governorate of Sa’ada, meaning that $24 million is still needed to sustain the operation.

The decision to cut rations by half was made in consultation with the Yemeni Government and is the only way to ensure that available food stocks last until the end of August.

On average, IDPs will receive 1,040 kilocalories per person per day, rather than the 2,100 kilocalories required for an active and healthy life.

Nutrition support to as many as 50,000 internally displace persons (IDPs) children under the age of five will, however, be maintained until the end of August.

Regular assistance provided by WFP and partners has contributed to stabilizing the levels of acute malnutrition and morbidity among IDPs in Yemen, particularly in camps. Ration reduction and the possible closure of the operation in the event that no further funding will be forthcoming could reverse the progress, the agency said.

WFP’s relief effort in Sa’ada is not the only one facing severe funding shortage. The agency’s operations in the rest of Yemen are struggling with a 75 per cent shortfall in total estimated requirements for 2010, which means that nearly 96,000 tons of food required for more than 3.4 million refugees, malnourished children, pregnant mothers and other needy people is not available.

Meanwhile, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that four of five education projects included in the humanitarian appeal for Yemen in November last year have received no funding at all.