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World Food Programme to maintain Yemen operations

By AFP - Feb 17,2015 - Last updated at Feb 17,2015

ROME — The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) said Tuesday it would maintain operations in Yemen despite mounting insecurity which has forced the withdrawal of western diplomats from the troubled country.

“In these difficult times, WFP’s role becomes even more important,” WFP’s Yemen Director Purnima Kashyap said in a reference to the chaos that has engulfed Yemen since a Shiite militia overran the capital Sanaa in September.

The aid body calculates that 40 per cent of Yemenis are short of reliable food supplies with some five million people already facing what the organisation termed a “severe” risk of hunger or malnutrition.

“And the current upheavals are certain to hit the poorest and most vulnerable hardest,” Kashyap added.

WFP reached one million people in January through local partners, it said.

These included hundreds of thousands of people who have fled their homes because of the conflict.

WFP said it planned to start a school feeding programme and provide take-home rations to some 115,000 girls regularly attending school.

Kashyap appealed to donors to continue their support for the WFP’s activities in Yemen, saying they needed $146 million for the next 12 months.

“The crisis has been further exacerbated by continuing clashes in the south,” Kashyap added. “WFP is concerned about the many displaced by the fighting and those who could be displaced if it does not stop.”

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