Child malnutrition is a serious problem in Yemen, with almost half of children under age 5-about 2 million children-chronically malnourished and another one million suffering from acute malnourishment. Yemen has the third highest rate of malnutrition in the world.
The United Nations World Food Program is responding to the problem by delivering micronutrient-enriched supplementary foods – Plumpy’doz, Plumpy’sup, SuperCereal, sugar and vegetable oil-to 675,000 pregnant women, nursing mothers and children under age five.
Clinics in Hodeidah governate, where the acute malnutrition rate is almost double the 15 percent rate set as the emergency threshold by the World Health Organization, were packed by mothers and children queuing to get tested for Malnutrition on Monday (September 24).
Food distributions are part of the on-going scale up in WFP’s emergency food distributions for severely food insecure people, who can’t produce or buy enough food to feed themselves on a daily basis. A recent assessment by WFP and its partners indicated that more than 5 million Yemenis fall into this category.
To meet the problem, WFP’s emergency program will more than double in size, growing from 1.8 million to 3.9 million people who WFP plans to reach by the end of the year. The increase represents a huge logistical challenge, involving the doubling of distribution points from 3,000 to 6,000 in Yemen's thirteen poorest governates.
The emergency distribution footage from Mahweet and Rayma is from two of those 6,000 distribution points that are part of the expansion. The monthly ration that people are receiving is 25 kgs of wheat and 2.2 liters of vegetable oil, which will provide them with a safety net of around 500 kilocalories a day, about one-quarter of the 2,100 kilo calories the average adult needs per day.
Under current funding, WFP’s total operations are around $69 million short of the $223 million budget for this year. WFP is finalizing plans to reach all 5 million of the severely food insecure next year, a total cost of more than $300 million.