The Yemeni riyal was exchanging at 630 to the US dollar in Yemen’s southern city of Aden yesterday, up from 425 in January, and less than 250 at the beginning of the conflict. The depreciation of Yemen’s currency corresponds with dramatic price hikes on basic commodities, leaving millions of people unable buy enough food to meet their daily needs.
“Since the weekend, the price of food has doubled – even buying an egg is very expensive now. Our neighbours came to us today asking for rice and onions to feed their children,” said Asma, a resident in Hodeidah city. “Before we would spare what we could to help beggars in the streets but now we have nothing left to offer.”
The spiralling economy compounds the devastating humanitarian crisis in which Yemenis are facing with extreme violence, widespread disease, displacement and hunger. Over 8 million people are on the brink of famine, placing them at greater risk of disease in what has become the world’s largest ever cholera outbreak.
“This economic collapse has the potential to kill even more Yemenis than the violence underlying it,” said Mohamed Abdi, country director for the Norwegian Refugee Council in Yemen. “It is devastating to see an already-exhausted Yemeni population continue to be hit with every conceivable obstacle to survival.”
Now in its fourth year, the war in Yemen is having a disproportionate impact on civilians, more than 60,000 of whom have been killed or injured. Heavy ground clashes, airstrikes and economic necessity have forced over three million people from their homes since the conflict broke out, including more than 350,000 people since the beginning of June.
“Small concessions from conflict parties are insufficient to prevent Yemen from reaching a point of no return. It is beyond time for conflict parties and those with influence over them to engage in meaningful process that brings an end to this senseless war,” said Abdi.