New Data Shows Yemen Going Backward, 1 in 6 People Projected to Be One Step Away from Famine

The United Nations today released a new Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) analysis of food insecurity in Yemen, which paints a bleak picture of a country once-again facing the spectre of famine, while humanitarian organizations struggle to secure funding to meet the growing crisis. 

Key findings from the report include:

  • One in six people is expected to face Phase 4 food insecurity – an emergency phase one step away from famine – by early 2021, a 38 percent increase from today (from 3.6 million to 5 million people) 

  • 98 percent of districts are expected to experience crisis or extreme levels of food insecurity in early 2021, three times the level of extreme food insecurity in early 2019 

  • Unfulfilled financial pledges from global donors and a 52 percent funding shortfall are forcing vital services to close

Providing insight from Action Against Hunger’s long standing work on the ground in Yemen, Jon Cunliffe, Middle East Regional Director for Action Against Hunger, said:

“This latest analysis shows what aid workers have known for some time: Yemen is going backwards and the threat of famine once again looms large. Hunger levels are exploding, conflict is intensifying, and unkept financial promises mean that life-saving services are being cut, despite the overwhelming need.  

“How would you tell a mother who has fled the fighting that you will no longer be able to deliver the water that her family lies on for survival? Imagine saying this to an estimated 50,000 people. This isn’t hypothetical, but just one example of a program we may be forced to close at the end of the year because the UN and aid agencies aren’t receiving the financial support we need.  

“This report must be a wake-up call to global leaders. The world needs a better way to deal with hunger. The current approach isn’t working and they must do everything in their power to secure a ceasefire and plug this financial gap.  

“Without concerted diplomatic pressure and an increase in funding, Yemen will continue its slow march towards famine.”

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Notes to editors

  • Action Against Hunger has been working in Yemen since 2012 and is operational in Hajjah, Hodeidah, Aden, Al Khokha, and Sana’a. 

  • Action Against Hunger is the world’s hunger specialist, leading the fight against child hunger by treating more young children for life-threatening hunger than any other charity.

  • In 2019, Action Against Hunger supported more than 17 million people across 46 countries.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Emily Tyree at

Action Against Hunger is leading a global movement to end hunger in our lifetimes. It innovates solutions, advocates for change, and reaches 25 million people every year with proven hunger prevention and treatment programs. As a nonprofit that works across 50 countries, its 8,300 dedicated staff members partner with communities to address the root causes of hunger, including climate change, conflict, inequity, and emergencies. It strives to create a world free from hunger, for everyone, for good.