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Slight improvements in food security in Yemen but escalating tensions may reflect this

Food security in Yemen improved slightly during October 2023, but attacks on the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden and the shutdown of the World Food Program may reverse the gains.

الأمن الغذائي في اليمن
Food security in Yemen

According to a recent World Food Program worldwide report, food security in Yemen increased marginally in October 2023 compared to the previous month and October 2022. However, food insecurity remains widespread across Yemen; nearly 51 percent of the families polled in areas controlled by the legitimate, internationally recognized government were unable to meet their minimum food needs in October, while 46 percent in Sanaa-controlled areas were unable to do so.

Between January and October 2023, the total volume of fuel imported through the ports of Hodeidah and Saleef grew by 21% over the same period in 2022. It is worth mentioning that rising tensions in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as the recent capture of a ship along Yemen's Red Sea coast, may result in higher insurance and shipping expenses to Yemen.

According to the implementation strategy, WFP continued to support 13 million people in each distribution cycle as of the end of October. However, as of December 2023, public food aid in areas under Sana'a-based authorities has been temporarily discontinued until further notice, owing to inadequate financing and a lack of agreement with the authorities in Sana'a.

The total volume of food imports climbed by 4% through Red Sea ports and 6% through Aden and Mukalla ports from January to October 2023, compared to the same period the previous year. In Yemeni markets, basic consumables were available.

In territories controlled by the legitimate, internationally recognized government, the local currency exchange rate has continued to decline. In comparison to the previous year, the Yemeni riyal lost 24 percent of its value against the US dollar, hitting 1,518 Yemeni riyals/US dollar by the end of October 2023. This is mostly due to a reduction in the level of foreign currency reserves, as well as a decline in crude oil exports and remittance inflows. On the other hand, the currency rate in Sanaa - controlled by the authorities in the north - increased by 7% year on year, reaching 525 Yemeni riyals/US dollar by the end of October.

In places subject to legitimate authority, gasoline and diesel prices fell by less than 1% from the previous month but remained higher than levels seen in October 2022; by 12 and 10%, respectively. This annual increase is partly attributable to the government's continued devaluation of the currency in the south. On the other hand, gasoline prices in Sanaa-based districts remained steady, while diesel prices fell by three percent on a monthly basis. In the north, both recorded annual reductions of 14 and 26%, respectively.


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