THE BLOG
27/09/2012 09:24 BST | Updated 26/11/2012 05:12 GMT

Are The Friends of Yemen Hungry For Change?

For 33 years the majority of Yemenis accepted that change in their country was an unlikely occurrence. Now post-'revolution', Yemenis not only desire change but much more than that; they are actively seeking change. In particular a change in their own circumstances and living conditions, deprived of the most freedoms we take for granted.

For 33 years the majority of Yemenis accepted that change in their country was an unlikely occurrence. Now post-'revolution', Yemenis not only desire change but much more than that; they are actively seeking change. In particular a change in their own circumstances and living conditions, deprived of the most freedoms we take for granted, including economic prosperity, Yemen is now facing the biggest food catastrophe in its entire history.

The unfortunate reality is that few, even the most informed in society, are aware of Yemen's current plight. Fixated on terrorism and the orientalist spring, the starvation of 10 million people hasn't made it to the headlines. Even worse, it has barely made it on the agendas of world leaders and the international community. Until recently that is, on the 27th of September, on the side lines of the UN Assembly, the UK, Saudi Arabia and Yemen will co-host a Friends of Yemen Conference in New York.

In preparation for this conference, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, Yemen's attempt at a caretaker President, is currently touring Europe to drum up support (and money) for Yemen. President Hadi is tasked with a tough job, at the last international meeting held for Yemen, $6.4bn was pledged to support the country, however it has been reported that Yemen needs nearly double that figure to support itself merely in the short term. With dwindling oil revenue and near empty water supplies, ever increasing inflation and the lack of infrasture to deal with any turbulence of any sort, a food crisis of even more epic proportions is surely imminent.

A year ago, Oxfam warned that Yemen was at breaking point, with 44.5% of the population food insecure, it can be said that Yemen is now entering the point of no return. Take al Hodeidah and Hajjah for example, were one in three children are malnourished double the emergency level according to the UN. The only possible way to pull Yemen's hungry from the brink is if the international community and in particular Yemen's donors realise the importance of humanitarian aid.

People can't eat promises, pledges need to turn into tangible food distribution programmes for the most effected. International charities have begun to see the necessity of working in Yemen but without the support and awareness of the public their objectives and reach will be severely limited.

To counteract the current lack of awareness, a number of agencies have come together to devise a public awareness campaign known as 'Hungry 4 Change'. The concept is simple, on the 27th, to coincide with the Friends of Yemen conference, supporters will sign a petition of support and fast from dust to dawn or simply skip lunch in solidarity. The hope is that word will spread among the public, and thus increase general awareness, whilst at the same time donor nations will gave proper priority to alleviating the food crisis, over the other multitude of issues currently plaguing Yemen.

It remains to be seen whether this project will be a success, but the one thing that is sure is that if the world does not act now, the situation will only get worse and malnutrition rates will soar, placing yet more lives at risk and pushing Yemen even futher to the edge.

If the people of Yemen are Hungry 4 Change, the question is why aren't we listening to them?