More than half of Yemenis “don’t have enough food to eat” (Podcast)

Fears are growing for the people of Yemen, the UN said Tuesday, amid news that more than half of the country’s population is suffering from life-threatening food insecurity.


Severe food insecurity widespread in Yemen, over 1/2 population in crisis. Photo: WFP

In a joint statement by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), more than 14 million people are said to be affected as a result of ongoing conflict between government forces and Houthi rebels.

Here’s WFP’s Bettina Luescher:

“It’s a dire situation. It’s one of the hardest places on earth with some of the biggest humanitarian crises on earth.”

Import restrictions on everyday goods into the country have made matters worse, according to WFP, which supplies aid to three million people a month.

The agency also noted that damage to ports and the shifting security situation continues to aggravate the vulnerability of Yemenis.

Niger displacement hits new highs after Nigeria violence

Violence linked to Boko Haram extremists in eastern Niger has forced a new wave of mass displacement, UNICEF has warned.

Around 67,000 people are believed to have fled attacks at the start of the month, adding to the 240,000 displaced who are already in the Diffa region.

According to the UN Children’s Fund those in search of shelter are mainly Nigerian refugees and internally displaced people from Niger who have settled along a highway, the Route Nationale 01.

Here’s UNICEF’s Viviane van Steirteghem, speaking from Niger:

“This resulted in a huge pressure on water resources especially, because the newly arrived in three of the main sites didn’t only settle with their families, they came with their cattle.”

Most of the new arrivals are women and children, as UNICEF says that the men have stayed at home closer to Lake Chad to plant crops as the rainy season begins.

Concern over Bahrain’s intensified crackdown on dissent

Authorities in Bahrain are being urged by the UN to de-escalate the situation following weeks of stifling dissent and depriving people of their nationality.

The top Shia cleric, Sheikh Issa Qassem, is the latest of at least 250 people to be stripped of their citizenship since July 2014.

The Interior Ministry has the power to revoke the citizenship of an individual for being disloyal or causing harm to the interests of the Kingdom.

Mass protests are taking place outside the cleric’s home in the northwest port village of Diraz since Monday.

Last week, five Shia clerics were also interrogated and Friday prayers by Shia mosques have been suspended until further notice.

Three organizations have also been dissolved, including the country’s largest opposition group.

The Government of Bahrain is being asked by the UN human rights office to ensure that freedom of peaceful assembly is fully respected.

Protestors are also being called on to exercise their rights peacefully and to avoid any act of violence.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 3’04″