A report published by The Independent announced that 2020 could be the worst year yet for hunger in Yemen due to the war, coalition raids, Covid-19, and floods.
"Before the pandemic reached Yemen’s shores, more than 15 million people – over half the country’s total population – were already relying on humanitarian food aid to survive,” according to the UN.
The arrival of Covid-19, which shuttered businesses and disrupted supply lines, has only made that hunger crisis more acute.
Vanessa Roy, from Famine Early Warning Systems Network, tells the British newspaper that 2020 could be a record bad year for hunger in Yemen.
“This year will be the worst in terms of the total population anticipated to be in need of food aid,” she says.
Speaking to the Security Council on Tuesday, the UN’s humanitarian chief, Mark Lowcock, said that without more funding and an immediate ceasefire, there would be a surge in hunger, malnutrition, cholera, the coronavirus and “above all, death”.
Despite the fact the country is on “the verge of collapse”, he said the UN was only able to raise 18 per cent of the money needed to run their programs this year after a failed funding drive.
Soaring food prices are among the main reasons for hunger in Yemen. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) told The Independent that the cost of staples such as flour has increased by 40 per cent since last year alone, while the cost of food in general has tripled since the start of the war.
This is driven in part by a sharp decline in food and aid coming into Yemen, a country that relies on imports for 90 per cent of its supplies.
The Yemen Data Project, which tracks airstrikes in the country, told The Independent that since the start of the war there have been over 680 air raids on farmlands across the country, killing and injuring nearly 400 civilians, and disrupting agricultural production.
The full impact of this on the local communities has yet to be properly quantified, but the destruction of crops such as date palms removes a source both of income and food at a time when families are already below the breadline.