United Nations agencies warned Wednesday that the number of people facing food insecurity in southern Yemen may increase from 2 million to 3.2 million in six months. 

The latest report by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) released by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), UNICEF and the World Food Program (WFP) said food shortages will rise sharply because of a number of factors, including poor economic conditions, conflict, flash floods, locusts and the coronavirus pandemic.

The analysis conducted in 133 districts in southern Yemen forecast an “alarming increase of people facing high levels of acute food insecurity”.

“The people of Yemen have already been through a lot and are resilient. But they are facing now too many hardships and threats all at once – from COVID-19 to Desert Locusts invasions. Small-holder farmers and families who depend upon agriculture for their livelihoods need our support now more than ever,” said FAO representative in Yemen Hussein Gadain.

Food shortages was eased to some extent in 2019 thanks to a massive scale-up of humanitarian assistance, said the report.

“We must act now. In 2019, thanks to a massive scale-up, WFP and partners were able to reverse the deterioration in the worst hit areas of Yemen. The warning signs have returned and with Coronavirus pandemic added to the mix, it could get a lot worse if humanitarian action is delayed,” according to WFP country director in Yemen, Laurent Bukera.

The report proposed recommendations “for urgent actions,” such as ensuring continued food assistance, rehabilitating local water infrastructures damaged by floods, supporting farmers, promoting good nutritional practices and strengthening early warning and general food security monitoring systems.

Yemen has been engulfed by violence and instability since 2014, when Houthi rebels captured much of the country, including the capital of Sanaa.

A Saudi-led coalition aimed at reinstating the government has worsened the situation, causing one of the world’s worst human-made humanitarian crisis, as millions are on the brink of starvation.

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