Yemen update: The Head of the World Food Programme David Beasley




                            Interview: The Head of the World Food Programme David Beasley


The Head of the World Food Programme David Beasley stressed that “economic liquidity” was immediately required to stabilize Yemen’s collapsing economy adding that the country was “not on the brink of a catastrophe; this is a catastrophe as we speak.”  (16 November 2018)

Speaking to reporters in New York  (16 Nov), Beasley said the food security and economic situation in Yemen were deteriorating adding “if there is not economic liquidity immediately put into the economy, I don’t think there is ever going to be enough humanitarian support for us to address the collapse that is taking place.” He added that the economy required 200 million USD to be injected into the economy monthly to stabilize.

Beasley said WFP was supporting eight million people in Yemen and expected that number to rise to 12 to 14 million with the issuance of new figures on food security in the country in two weeks’ time. He said WFP was currently spending some 100 million USD monthly on food security and would need to increase to 150 million monthly to meet the rising needs in Yemen. He said WFP was looking to provide 50 million USD on this aid in direct cash-based transfers to the most vulnerable Yemenis which he said would help stabilize the economy.

“It’s going to require a minimum of two dynamics, pillars, in my opinion, to avert famine. One, of course, is more humanitarian aid for those who we can get access to – which I do believe that we can get access to most of the population in the country notwithstanding some pockets – but the second is liquidity. And it is equally, in my opinion, if not more important. What the war has done in a few years, the collapse of the economy will do in a few months.”

Beasley said WFP continued to face difficulties with Houthi rebels in the country in terms of access, visa for staff, equipment, and fuel. He added, “The Houthis have been, in the last couple of months especially – and I have condemned them to the highest degree and I brought this up with them every meeting I had this week – was they have been entering, some of their soldiers, militants, have been entering into our warehouses and facilities and use them as safe havens, violating the most fundamental humanitarian principals on Earth.”

The Executive Director arrived yesterday from Yemen where he visited the cities of Aden, Sanaa and Hodeidah. He stressed that the port of Hodeidah was “absolutely critical” as the country imported 90 percent of its food, the majority of which comes through Hodeidah. Beasley noted his insistence on visit the Port of Hodeidah during his visit because “world needs to see a UN senior official standing at that port and letting the world know that that port has got to be protected at all costs.”

Beasley is expected to address the Security Council this afternoon on his recent visit to Yemen as well as the latest developments there.

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