Biden must seek an end to war and famine in Yemen

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President Biden, in this week’s trip to the Middle East, must seek to end the civil war in Yemen and prevent famine.

The truce in Yemen’s war between the Saudi Arabia led coalition and the Houthi rebels must translate into a lasting peace treaty. The two sides have been fighting a civil war for seven years. The recent truce has mostly held, but there is still some violence and a peace treaty needs to happen soon.

The president must make it clear, when he visits Saudi Arabia, that there will be no more military aid for the Saudis war effort. Peace must happen in Yemen now.

Yemen is on the brink of famine. Children are still starving as the war has devastated food supplies and distribution. Over 17 million people are facing severe hunger in Yemen. That number is expected to climb to over 19 million. Yemen has one of the highest rates of child malnutrition. There is tragically not enough attention given to Yemen’s hunger crisis. Donations are low.

The United Nations’ World Food Program is so low on funding rations have been reduced for Yemen’s war victims since last year. More cuts are expected as funding has not picked up.

A WFP report said it’s “facing disruptions to the supply of specialized nutritious food, which combined with funding shortages, is expected to significantly impact nutrition interventions in Yemen over the coming months.” This will lead to more children suffering deadly malnutrition in Yemen.

The WFP also warns “Additional assistance cuts will be unavoidable over the coming months unless additional funds are urgently mobilized.”

Yemen needs funding to ensure every infant receives food to prevent deadly malnutrition. So many Yemeni babies have starved to death during this war. Biden must make it a priority to ensure no more Yemeni children suffer this gruesome fate.

Also vital is the school feeding program for Yemen’s kids. The low funding is threatening school feeding with cuts and even suspension. The school meals feed Yemen’s kids, but also gets them back in class and learning. We must not abandon these programs because of lack of funding. We have to make sure all Yemen food aid programs get the resources they need.

There can be no peace in Yemen if people are suffering in hunger.

This makes it more imperative for Biden to achieve an end to the war. Biden must boost food aid to Yemen, otherwise famine may take hold. The U.S. can lead this food aid effort and secure the cooperation of the Saudis and others to provide funding.

Children in Yemen have died from bombs and malnutrition. These Yemeni children deserve peace and food and that should be the primary goal of Biden’s trip.

William Lambers is an author, journalist and historian who partnered with the United Nations World Food Program on the book “Ending World Hunger.”

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