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Appealing for funds, UN agency aims to reach 2.5 million in Yemen with food aid by July

2 June 2015 – Amid a worsening crisis and growing number of hungry people in Yemen, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced today that it is scaling-up its operations to get emergency food aid to 2.5 million people by July.

"The conflict has increased the number of hungry people in the country," WFP spokesperson Elisabeth Byrs told a press briefing in Geneva today.

During the next three months, WFP will need around $43 million every month for the emergency distribution of full rations to some 2.5 million people, she added.

There are currently 12.5 million food insecure people in Yemen, some 2 million more than when the crisis began. Until July, WFP will aim to provide emergency food assistance to 2.5 million people, and, from August, it plans to increase that number, reaching 12 million people by the end of the year.

So far, WFP has reached some 1.6 million people with nearly 20,000 metric tonnes of food and ships continue to arrive. The WFP-chartered Amsterdam ship set for Yemen anchored at the country's Hudaydah port in on yesterday, carrying some 5,700 metric tons of white flour, yellow split peas and vegetable oil. That is enough to feed around 60,000 Yemenis for a month.

Another WFP-chartered ship, MV Celine, carrying 7,000 tonnes of wheat flour is expected to berth in Hudaydah in the next few days. The MV Copenhagen , transporting 1.5 million litres of fuel for partners, will depart Dubai for Hudaydah on Thursday, 4 June.

"A key problem is that prices continue to increase for all food commodities, limiting the functioning of food markets," Mr. Byrs told reporters.

WFP Yemen's weekly market monitoring report, covering the third week of May, found that food has largely disappeared from the shelves in several governorates, including in Abyan, Al Dhale'e, Aden, Lahj, Sa'ada and Shabwah.

"Food in those places is either sporadically available or completely unavailable," she said.

Moreover, food prices have skyrocketed. The price of wheat flour has risen on average 43 per cent, with the highest rise recorded in Marib governorate at 115 per cent since the start of the crisis.

The cost of cooking gas has risen on average 131 per cent since the start of the crisis. And there is also a severe shortage in clean water, power and fuel supplies.

Yemen, the poorest country in the region, imports almost 90 per cent of its food from abroad.

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