No fuel vessel has been allowed to dock at the Yemen port of Al Hodeidah since January 3. Thirteen fuel vessels carrying more than 350,000 tonnes of commercial fuel are currently detained off the coast of Yemen.
Due to the lack of fuel, people find it difficult to access markets, access to health facilities and other vital services. Meanwhile, people line up for up to three days to refuel their cars or are forced to turn to the parallel market where prices are 180% higher.
These severe fuel shortages threaten the availability of potable water and electricity supplies. Healthcare facilities that depend on fuel for generators are without electricity. Rising fuel prices also mean rising food prices at a time when more than 16 million food-insecure Yemenis are already struggling to buy staple foods, all gathered and resulting in yet another shock. which will further accentuate the fragility of the most vulnerable.
The small reserves of the humanitarian community and commercial actors are also at unprecedented levels. WFP‘s ability to provide life-saving food assistance after March is at stake.
Food security projections for 2021 warn that nearly 50,000 people face starvation conditions with 5 million people within walking distance. 11 million more people struggle every day to feed themselves and their families. But these forecasts fail to take into account the economic and humanitarian impact of a fuel crisis, which means they risk underestimating the extent of the current suffering in Yemen.
WFP urges all parties to reach an agreement allowing entry and distribution of fuel to civilians and the commercial sector through the port of Al Hodeidah, echoing similar and repeated calls for United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths.
Fuel shortages pose another threat to a population already on the brink. The specter of famine grows day by day and the cycle of hunger and conflict continues. Measures must be taken to protect the lives and livelihoods of Yemeni civilians.
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