AL MAZRAK – Despite ongoing insecurity, WFP food distributions are running at full capacity in Northern Yemen where fighting between government forces and Al-Houthi rebels has produced a tide of families seeking safety.
Fatima’s family, like many others, have found a haven at the Al Mazrak camp, located in a harsh area of Northern Yemen plagued by dust storms. They now live in a tent, along with the camp’s 12,000 other displaced people.
Fatima wakes up in the small hours of the morning to bake bread for her husband and four children. She makes it from wheat flour provided by WFP in a small oven built into the ground. “This bread is our breakfast and lunch. We eat it with some leftover lentils,” she says.
Food and safety
Life in the camp is difficult, Fatima admits, but she is thankful for the food and safe haven they have. “ We rely on this food to survive,” says her husband Hamid.
They are looking forward to the distribution of more food at the end of the week, as they are running low. They shared some of the food they had with other families who had just arrived. Residents sometimes host newly arrived families and share their food with them if the registering post for assistance is closed.
Thousands of people are still fleeing the conflict, which broke out last August when the government launched a new offensive. More are arriving at the camps every day.
WFP and its partners have distributed more than 6,000 metric tons of food in Hajjah, Sa'ada, Amran, Al Jawf and Sana'a to almost 160,000 people since the outbreak of the war. In January WFP will probably reach 175,000 IDPs.
The conflict in the North has made headlines, but it is just one of the many challenges affecting Yemen’s people. In the South, an average of 2,000 refugees arrive each month after fleeing the chaos in war-torn Somalia.
Meanwhile, it is estimated that 48 percent of the population – about 10 million Yemenis -- are food insecure. High food prices keep food out of reach for many of the poorest families. Prices have retreated since last year, but still remain much higher than they were before.