Fuel crisis increases food prices and continues to restrict the aid operation
After a slight improvement in the availability of fuel on the unofficial market in mid-August, the situation has worsened again. Approximately 130,000 metric tons (MT) of fuel was discharged at Al Hudaydah and Saleef ports between 29 July and 16 September, according to the UN Verification and Inspection Mechanism (UNMVIM), about half the minimum monthly fuel requirements.
The Red Sea Ports Corporation reported that as of 8 September, 19 vessels carrying 485,456 MT of fuel and gas continue to be held, unable to proceed to Al Hudaydah ports to discharge their cargo.
Fuel costs in the informal market in northern governorates remain at more than double the official rate in many areas due to acute shortages which will likely push the prices of essential commodities upwards. According to the Yemen Food Security and Agriculture cluster (FSAC), the impact of the fuel crisis on the monthly food basket in the north remains minimal thus far, due to the flourishing parallel market for fuel. The effect is more pronounced on the prices of perishable food items which are transported on a daily basis and trends will be closely monitored.
The prices of locally produced commodities and farm produce have risen significantly because of an increase in irrigation costs of between 40 per cent and 80 per cent, and an increase in the cost of transporting produce to market. The price of fresh fruits and vegetables has risen the most, by up to 125 per cent for some produce, and locally produced cereals by up to 25 per cent in Amanat Al Asimah.
While FSAC has sufficient fuel to sustain the food assistance operation until December, delays to food distributions of up to a week have been reported in Dhamar, Sana’a, Marib, Hajjah and Al Bayda governorates. This is due to a combination of factors, including fuel shortages, active hostilities and challenging physical terrain in some areas. Increased transport costs for beneficiaries of between 20 per cent and 50 per cent have been reported in Ibb, Al Hudyadah and Hajjah governorates. The cost of monitoring and field visits has also increased, by between 20 and 50 per cent, mainly in Al Hudaydah, Hajjah, Ibb, and Sa’ada governorates, while the cost of transporting building materials for cash for work programmes is up by between 30 and 50 per cent in Sa’ada and Al Hudaydah governorates.