Everything About The Humanitarian Crisis In Yemen

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Yemen is a country in the Middle East and the second-largest Arab sovereign state in the peninsula. 

It has been in a horrifying shape, according to the UN, it is in the globe's worst humanitarian crisis right now. Being one of the world's least developed countries, it needs all the help it can get to provide relief to its humanitarian disaster.

Amidst the global pandemic, Yemen is facing famine, cholera, malnutrition and death of thousands of its people. All of these mainly linked to the Civil War in Yemen.

How Did It All Start?

Yemen has been battling with wars for a long time, but the current conflict traces back to 22 March 2015. Following the Arab Spring, protestors took to the streets in an attempt to force its long-standing authoritarian President, Ali Abdullah Saleh, who ruled Yemen for 33 years- to hand over his leadership to his deputy, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi.

The pro-democracy protestors were hoping to regain stability to their country, but he refused to stand down. They also deplored poverty and official corruption. As a series of uprising ensued across MENA (the Middle East and North Africa), Saleh was forced to step down and transfer his powers to Hadi in November 2011. 
This was possible after an Internationally brokered deal.

The Houthis (a little branch of Shia Muslims known as Zaydis.) saw an opportunity when Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi had a tough time tackling various obstacles such as corruption, food deficit, unemployment, attacks by jihadists, etc. The rebels from the north also rejected his endeavours at constitutional and budget reforms.

Then, they took charge of the Sa'dah Province, which is in the north-western part of Yemen and it's neighbouring areas. Additionally, seizing the capital city- Sanaa, furthermore, also seeking to control the whole country. This led to Hadi leaving for Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in March 2015.

What Happened Next? 

Saudi Arabia led a coalition to defeat the Houthi rebels who were backed by Iran. Albeit Hadi fled to Saudi Arabia, his government or power was still recognised internationally. Consequently, Saudi Arabia and some other countries were aiding the government (Hadi) in this Civil War.

The countries that were a part of this coalition were mostly the western-backed Sunni-majority nations. They were- Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Sudan, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco as well as the United States.

Britain, France and the US too played a part in this- they sold arms, warplanes, provided intelligence, military advice and logical support sequentially. They launched intense airstrikes towards the Houthis. Houthis who were Saleh's adversaries, later allies sieged control of northern highlands, they were forced out of the Southern Provinces in 2015.

In 2017, Saleh broke ties with the Houthis and was later killed. Despite facing heightened pressure along the Red Sea Coast and extreme air bombarding they sustained their hold on the central. Since the capture of the Capital Sanaa, Hadi's Riyadh-backed government had been in Aden since 2015.

How This Affected Yemen? 

Human Rights Watch reported unlawful airstrikes, indiscriminate artillery attacks, recruiting children under the age of 18 or even 15 as soldiers, Houthis planting landmines to harm civilians in Yemen, arbitrary detentions, torture and enforced disappearances, attacks on civil society, Saudi coalition and Houthis blocking and impeding humanitarian access to fuel (which further prevents the supply of water, food, running of hospitals) movement, and other similar things, violence against women, abuse of migrants, etc.

In March 2015, Saudi Arabia and the coalition started launching airstrikes toward the Houthi rebels. Although the Sunni Muslims of the Saudi Arabian Coalition are trying to reinstate Yemen's Hadi government and defeat the Shia Muslims of the Houthi insurgents, the civilians and children bear the brunt of this war that has developed as the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world.

For instance, In the north of Yemen where the Houthis are in control, 40 schoolboys succumbed to death when a laser-guided bomb hit their bus. They were all aged 6 to 11.

According to UNOCHA (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs), since 2015 there have been 100,000 approximated casualties, 4 million displaced and 24 million number of people in need of aid and support. 

Both the sides of the conflict have recruited children as soldiers. It is a never-ending nightmare.

Over 20 million people in Yemen are enduring food insecurity and 10 million are at the risk of famine. These numbers may not even be all the cases, as only some health facilities are functioning- which makes it hard to take a count and prepare an accurate report.

Before the conflict, the economy of Yemen was already frail enough but worsened during the war- this made thousands of lives challenging due to the insufficient resources and income to survive. 

Their living conditions are ghastly- the electricity connection is so low, that it is almost non-existential with the least connection in the Middle East, over 80 per cent of the population, (out of which 12 million are children) are in dire need of assistance, they have inadequacy and insufficiency of clean water, food, sanitation, schools, hospitals, etc.

About two million children under the age of 5 suffer from acute malnutrition and need treatment as they are killed and maimed every day in this war, with a child dying EVERY ten minutes of preventable causes. 

There is also a cholera outbreak, the Ministry of Public Health and Population of Yemen reported accumulating a total number of 1,368,325 speculated cases with 1566 correlated deaths from 1 January 2018 to 17 May 2020, in 2020, 23 per cent of these presumed cases represent children under the age of five.

Amidst the pandemic- COVID-19 which is spreading swiftly, Yemen is facing 10 times the trouble. With the lack of necessary equipment like masks and gloves, many running facilities are unable to provide treatment- then you can imagine how many other essential supplies like oxygen, etc. they do not have access to. 

With a dangerously low immune, it highly complicated to protect Yemen from novel coronavirus.

What You Can Do To Help?

The airstrikes have not only disrupted Yemen's infrastructure, homes, schools, hospitals etc. but also their dreams and any chance of leading a healthy and decent life. A week ago, the UN issued a desperate plea for financial help for Yemen to provide relief to its people.

Almost two-thirds of Yemen's population relies on UN aid programmes- meanwhile, if they do not get additional funds over 73 per cent of its programmes will close. You can log onto https://www.unicef.org/emergencies/yemen-crisis to learn more about how you can help. 

There are numerous ways you can provide relief to Yemen by donating food, clothes or funds. So, if you have the means to, please do.

Written By - Ivanova

Edited By - Aditya Neelakantam
Everything About The Humanitarian Crisis In Yemen Everything About The Humanitarian Crisis In Yemen Reviewed by Aditya Neelakantam on June 21, 2020 Rating: 5

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