By: Anisa Liban
The United Nations estimates that by the end of 2015, there will be about 600,000 displaced persons-half of them Somali. About 300,000 left to escape violence caused by government fighting with AQAP. By August of 2015, the number of refugees is expected to increase to 1.5 million people. In terms of size, the number is five times what it was last December. There are many factors that play a role in the crisis; one of the biggest is food scarcity. The war has affected even those not forced to flee their homes.
Yemen is agriculturally suffering from a drought, so the country has been importing nine-tenths of its food long before the coup early winter. The continuous fighting has also interfered with such imports. An estimated 6 million citizens are severely food insecure, which means that any conflict, even a minor one, can lead to mass starvation. According to The Nation, about 60 percent of the population is facing some sort of food insecurity.
In addition to a food crisis, thousands have been left without medical care, mainly due to having close to 600 hospitals destroyed or closed. For these reasons, the nation is witnessing a large migration. Thousands are leaving every week, taking passage in cargo ships across the Red Sea to the horn’s Djibouti and Somalia, and then others are traveling north to seek haven in Egypt. Unfortunately, amidst all the chaos, many people are also being exploited. Human traffickers are demanding a high cost to flee.
This is especially problematic for the Eritrean, Djibouti, Oromo, Ethiopian, Sudanese and Somali refugees hoping to relocate. Yemen is a transit country of mixed migration flows, including asylum-seekers and migrants. UN officials have documented that “The country hosts approximately 246,000 registered refugees, 95 per cent of whom are Somalis” (UNHCR). This is why The American Relief Agency for the Horn of Africa has decided to aid this particular group of people.
ARAHA aims to bring immediate relief to those in need, but now, more than ever, those displaced throughout the horn. Yemen is now facing what is arguably the world’s next great refugee crisis. So, the organization plans to send relief packages, one hundred dollar food baskets, nutrient supplies and medical supply to aid 600 families. Although the mission is to support as many individuals as possible, ARAHA is determined to protect children and women who are malnourished and neglected. Many of them receive basic food commodities which are limited and only provided periodically.
The main objective of this project is to increase food distribution and health supply. This along with ARAHA’s self-reliance program will support refugees tremendously. The issue at hang is far greater than food security; it is essentially a lack of immediate response which is why ARAHA will use its programs to bridge the gap between poverty and hunger.