The United Nations announced on Tuesday that it was able to deliver food aid to 9.5 million people in Yemen in December, just shy of its goal of 10 million, according to Reuters.
"We were at a bit less than 10 million because the actual situation slowed down a bit the distribution in some areas,” Herve Verhoosel, the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) spokesman, told reporters at a Geneva news briefing. “The security is not as good as expected in some areas.”
"Some of our trucks were also stopped for longer than usual in some security checkpoints,” he added.
Throughout the country, more than 15.3 million people are in dire need of food, as the war reaches its fourth year. Throughout the conflict, the country has descended into the what is being called “the worst humanitarian crisis in the world,” as bombs fall throughout the civilian communities, infectious diseases proliferate, water and food remain scarce, and the economy craters.
More than 85,000 children have died from hunger since the start of the war.
“For every child killed by bombs and bullets, dozens are starving to death and it’s entirely preventable,” said Tamer Kirolos, Save the Children’s Yemen director. “Children who die in this way suffer immensely.”
Despite falling short of its goal, the WFP still made considerable progress in the country. In November, the organization reached between 7 to 8 million people. In the months ahead, the group aims to reach 12 million people.
For much of 2018 and before, blockades were imposed at critical ports by Saudi Arabia that prevented aid from being delivered throughout the the country. After a ceasefire opened a humanitarian corridor in December, the UN’s World Food Programme rapidly scaled relief efforts.
The organization has faced resistance within the country because of a pervasive lack of security. Food aid has also been compromised by widespread theft by Houthi rebels, according to the New York Times, a problem that WFP officials have been trying to contain.
Each month that the war drags on, food security within the country deteriorates, which means that any long-term solution depends on a lasting peace treaty, the UN said.