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UN WFP to parties in Yemen conflict: allow food distributions in Taiz

[JURIST] The UN World Food Programme (WFP) [official website] has appealed [press release] to all the parties involved in the Yemen conflict to allow the safe passage of food to the city of Taiz where people have been going hungry for weeks. According to Muhannad Hadi, WFP Regional Director for the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the conflict in Taiz has hampered WFP's efforts to reach impoverished people, especially in besieged parts of the city. According to WFP, some food was delivered to Al Mudhafer, Al Qahira, Al Taizah and Salah districts where WFP hopes to meet the needs of nearly 350,000 destitute people. However, the conflict coupled with the difficulty of obtaining clearances from the various parties involved in the conflict has further slowed down or otherwise hampered WFP's efforts. Taiz is one of 10 Yemen governorates that face severe food insecurity at Emergency Level. According to WFP, this is one step below famine on the five-point Integrated Food Security Phase Classification scale.

The violent situation in Yemen [BBC backgrounder] has been a significant international concern [JURIST report] the past year. In October 2015, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein communicated to the UN Human Rights Council that his office has discovered that there have been nearly 2,000 casualties [JURIST report] and more than 4,000 injured in Yemen. In August 2015, the fighting in Yemen between Huthi militias and anti-Huthi armed groups indiscriminately killed and wounded civilians with unlawful airstrikes in civilian neighborhoods, according to a report [JURIST report] issued by Amnesty International [advocacy website]. The WFP states that the conflict worsened Yemen’s already poor food security situation, with more than three million added to the growing list of the hungry since March 2015. According to WFP, at present, there are an estimated 7.6 million people who have lost their livelihoods and are facing life-threatening rates of acute malnutrition.

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