As the dangers of the onset of famine in Yemen spread like the hood of a King Cobra, global poverty rises in more than two decades. The World Bank Group estimates global poverty to rise for the first time in 20 years on the back of the COVID-19 pandemic and global recession. According to the report Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2020, an additional 88 to 115 million people will fall into extreme poverty this year with another incremental of 23 to 35 million people in 2021. Extreme poverty is defined as earnings less than $1.9 per day. The report analyses the effect of COVID-19, armed conflict, and climate change on global poverty and estimates climate change to push additional 100 million people into poverty by 2030.
UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore “The situation is already catastrophic, and without urgent action, more children will die. We have prevented famine in Yemen before, and we should be able to prevent it again, with increased support and with unimpeded access to every child and family in need.”
Four months ago, a Reuters photo of 10-year-old Hassan Merzam Muhammad who weighed about 9 kg ( left pic: REUTERS/Eissa Alragehi/File Photo), left the world heart-stricken putting the plight of Yemen citizens on a global platform. The situation in the war-torn Yemen is increasingly growing grim with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and UNICEF, warning the window to prevent famine is rapidly dwindling. According to New Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), phase 5, the most catastrophic phase of food insecurity is rising at an alarming rate from 16,500 people to a predicted 47,000 people between January and June 2021. 5 million people are going to be in the phase 4 zone in the first half of 2021, the Emergency phase, a ~39 percent rise from the present estimates. The situation is so grave that by mid-2021, over half of Yemen’s 30 million population could be facing crisis levels of food insecurity (Phase 3+) if no intervention is initiated. Further, the country remains very vulnerable to external aid with 70 percent of the population living in rural areas. In order to make the country sustainable in livelihood, the conflict must end to rebuild the economy in a sustained manner by creating jobs backed by an abundance of skilled labor, and reinstating basic healthcare, and education system. The onset of the pandemic, fall in remittances, and fuel embargo along with reliance on import for 80 percent of its food have further accelerated the rise in food prices and insecurity among Yemen’s population. UNICEF is driving charity for children of Yemen, however, a global consensus is required to end the conflict to avoid an unprecedented disaster in Yemen. However, Yemen is not alone in facing the risk of famine as selected countries in the sub-Saharan region face food shortages due to conflict , fostering the path to an increase in global poverty, enhanced by the proliferation of novel coronavirus.