New World Bank Support to Address Food Insecurity in Yemen Aims to Reach 9 Million Yemenis

May 19, 2017

Ongoing emergency projects to be expanded with US$283 million in additional grants  

Washington, May 19, 2017 - In response to rising food insecurity in Yemen, the World Bank will finance cash transfers to 1.5 million of the poorest households (or about 8 million people), to ensure they have the means to purchase food, and provide nutritious supplements to an additional one million of the most vulnerable and in need Yemenis. For this purpose, additional grants from the International Development Association (IDA) totaling US$283 million were announced today to finance the expansion of two emergency projects that are currently supporting vulnerable Yemenis in all of the country’s governorates.

“This is an extremely important and urgent response by the World Bank to address the growing food insecurity in Yemen by providing income support as well as nutrition supplements to those Yemenis who cannot meet their basic food needs or are at high risk,” said Dr. Asad Alam, World Bank Group Country Director for Yemen, Egypt, and Djibouti. "These new grants which will be implemented in partnership with Yemeni institutions and UNICEF, adds to our ongoing emergency programs to support basic income and health services to the most needy and vulnerable.”

The new grants will come from IDA, the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries. A US$200 million grant, including US$125 million from the IDA Crisis Response Window, will finance the expansion of the Yemen Emergency Crisis Response Project. The grant will fund cash transfers to the poorest households. The project will also reactivate Yemen’s safety net delivery system and its existing network for the distribution of the cash transfers.

“The newly approved financing will allow us to expand the reach of our ongoing income support through community-driven interventions that has so far reached hundreds of thousands of Yemenis across the entire country,” said Afrah Al-Ahmadi, World Bank Senior Social Protection Specialist and Task Team Leader of the project. “This expansion will mark a significant step forward in addressing the immediate food needs of millions of Yemenis while laying the foundation for Yemen’s medium-term recovery by supporting critical social safety net delivery systems.”

A second US$83 million grant will expand the Emergency Health and Nutrition Project to support vulnerable women and children in particular. The new grant will finance the scale up and introduction of an integrated package of nutritional support to reach another one million vulnerable Yemenis across the country, in addition to the 7 million that the original project is helping.  

“The focus will remain on the provision of integrated nutrition support complemented by essential health services but the expansion will allow additional nutrition services and will prioritize areas with the highest levels of food insecurity,” said World Bank Health Specialist, Moustafa Abdalla and Task Team Leader of the project. “The additional financing will also support the establishment of an integrated nutrition surveillance system for monitoring the nutrition and health status of different communities across the country, to allow for resources to be deployed where they are needed most.”

With these new financing, IDA emergency grants to Yemen issued since July 2016 have totaled US$783 million.  These are being channeled through two emergency projects—the Emergency Crisis Response Project and the Emergency Health and Nutrition Project. These projects have been prepared -and are being implemented- in partnership with Yemeni institutions and UN organizations such as the United Nations Development Program, the United Nations Children’s Fund, and the World Health Organization.

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