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WFP to launch two-year nutrition program in Yemen

GENEVA, May 30 (KUNA) -- The UN World food program WFP said on Friday that it will begin from July implementing a two-year Recovery Operation in Yemen, which will support people in overcoming barriers to food and nutrition security and address long-term hunger in that country. This operation is valued at USD 491 million and targets 6 million people in Yemen.
"Under the new Programme, WFP will help create rural employment with labour-intensive work, improve agriculture and water supply, support 200,000 girls in schools with take-home rations, provide a daily school snack to 900,000 children, provide life-saving assistance to internally displaced people (IDPs) and support the prevention and treatment of malnutrition among children and mothers", said WFP press officer Ute Kohler in a press briefing in the UN office in Geneva.
According to the WFP, Yemen is in the midst of a humanitarian crisis, with more than 10 million people - almost half the country's population - either hungry or on the edge of hunger.
Out of those, some 4.5 million Yemenis or 22% of the population were found to be severely food insecure - meaning they require food assistance because they are unable to find enough food to feed themselves on a daily basis. Some 5 million Yemenis are in danger of slipping into severe food insecurity, said the WFP.
The situation in Yemen is characterized by large-scale displacement, civil strife, political instability, food insecurity, high food prices, a breakdown of social services, diminishing resources, endemic poverty, rife insecurity and refugee influxes.
Yemen is particularly vulnerable to international rises in food prices as it imports up to 90% of its main staple foods, including wheat and sugar.
Security is a major concern, restricting movements of WFP staff. However, WFP food assistance is reaching people in need through the 3,600 food distribution points across Yemen, often in remote locations. In areas where WFP staff cannot travel, food distributions are monitored by NGO partners or government counterparts.
Child malnutrition rates are among the highest in the world with close to half of Yemen's children under 5 years - 2 million children - stunted and 1 million acutely malnourished.
WFP is scaling up its nutrition interventions. WFP's nutrition response is focused on the five coastal governorates - Aden, Hajja, Hodeidah, Lahz, Taiz - where 50 per cent of Yemen's malnourished children are located.
The response includes a blanket supplementary feeding programme for children under 5 using Plumpy-Doz to reduce their risk of acute malnutrition. This aims to reach 325,000 children under the age of 2 each month.
Furthermore, treatment initiatives focus on targeted supplementary feeding programmes for children under 5 using Plumpy-Sup as well as Wheat Soya Blend (WSB); oil and sugar for pregnant women and nursing mothers; each month, WFP aims to reach 200,000 children under 5, as well as 157,000 pregnant women and nursing women.
In May, WFP plans to reach 747,750 beneficiaries across Yemen. Up to USD 117.5 million is needed to cover its operations until December. (end) ta.ajs