People in Yemen’s southern city of Taiz are relying on bread from aid agencies as their main source of food when it was supposed to be a supplement, and are also picking leaves from trees to make soup. The Red Cross partnership with local bakeries to provide this bread to families will end in August not because people now have enough food, but because it is too costly to run.
The Red Cross created partnerships with local bakers to provide bread to some 13,000 families and, across the 45 bakeries, bread is given to over 70,000 people every day.
“The bread was meant to supplement other food items,” Cierans said. “But on a recent round of visits, we found that this bread was all that most people were eating.
Some families were actually cutting up the bread and trying to make a soup out of it so it would spread further, others were picking leaves from trees to try to make it more nutritious. This is a country on the brink of famine.
Collecting the bread has proved fatal for some, in a city under constant shelling.
Cierans said: “We have also had people killed on their way to collect the bread.”