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News code: 29333
Published Date: Monday 18 May 2020 - 13:57:09
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Yemen could face 'catastrophic' food situation as pandemic worsens: FAO

Yemen could face 'catastrophic' food situation as pandemic worsens: FAO
World  - Yemen, already pushed to the brink of famine by a five-year war, could see a “catastrophic” food security situation due to the coronavirus pandemic and lower remittances from the Gulf, the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said on Monday.

Yemen, already pushed to the brink of famine by a five-year war, could see a "catastrophic" food security situation due to the coronavirus pandemic and lower remittances from the Gulf, the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said on Monday.
Some 80% of Yemen's population are reliant on aid and millions face hunger.

"The health system was already under heavy stress and will now be overwhelmed if COVID-19 continues to spread and in addition it will affect the movement of people and the movement of goods," Abdessalam Ould Ahmed, the FAO's assistant director-general and regional representative for the Near East and North Africa, told Reuters.

"That situation could be really catastrophic if all the elements of worst case scenarios come to be but let's hope not and the U.N. are working on avoiding that."

Yemen, alongside Syria and Sudan, is one of the most vulnerable states in the Middle East in terms of food security.

Lockdowns to prevent the spread of the virus are likely to impact humanitarian supply chains keeping a large part of the population fed, the U.N. agency said in a report on Monday.

The World Health Organization said last Monday the virus was circulating undetected in Yemen, increasing the likelihood of a devastating outbreak among a malnourished population that would overwhelm a shattered health system with limited testing capacity.

There are currently 15.9 million Yemenis classified as food insecure out of a population of some 28 million.

The FAO does not currently have an estimate as to how much bigger that number could get if the disease continues to spread but it continues to monitor the situation.

The FAO said Yemen, the poorest Arabian Peninsula nation, would also be hit by an expected decline in remittances from Yemenis in Gulf countries, which amounted to $3.8 billion in 2019.

"This is a significant source of income for the country that may be considerably reduced," Ould Ahmed said.

Many foreign workers in the energy-producing region have lost jobs, been put on unpaid leave or had salaries cut due to the coronavirus and low oil prices.

 

News Code: 29333
Published Date: Monday 18 May 2020 - 13:57:09
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