Saturday, April 21, 2012

Famine in Yemen?

The Economist warns of possible famine in Yemen:
"As household budgets have shrunk, better-off Yemenis have had less to give their poorer neighbours. Many have taken to buying food and water on credit. Anisa has no way of paying off the 20,000 riyals ($90) she owes for water, and worries about getting more. She and her daughters now eat twice a day when others can spare food or money: tea, bread, rice, maybe some fish if they are lucky. 'In March, the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) reported that levels of food insecurity in Yemen had doubled since 2009. Today 5m people go hungry so often that it affects their long-term health. According to Unicef, the WFP’s counterpart for children, some 30% of kids in Hodeida are 'acutely' malnourished, threatened with stunted growth and cognitive impairment. The 30% figure is twice the level the UN uses as a benchmark for crisis. And hunger is rising, says Lydia Tinka, a veteran of multiple African crises who works in Hodeida for Oxfam, a British charity."
In recent years Yemen has had a simmering water crisis, and some suggested that water shortages were contributing to the instability in the country well before the Arab Spring. It is sadly predictable that the uncertainty in its wake has worsened food security overall.



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