Yemen: A Humanitarian Crisis
By: Hina Haider
Yemen is in dire need of assistance. One of the world’s worst humanitarian crises is unfolding before our eyes. To turn a blind eye is to be complicit to a human rights violation. Approximately 80% of the Yemen population is in need of some form of assistance with 4 million people having been forced from their homes to seek shelter. Diseases such as cholera, covid-19, and the lingering threat of famine loom ominously over the Yemeni people and continue to spread. Without global intervention, the Yemeni fight against hunger threatens to be a losing battle. An unfortunate 17 million people are in desperate need of food along with 3.2 million suffering from malnutrition. Although, to completely understand the tragedy at hand, it is important to first understand how it began.
There has been ongoing conflict in Yemen for years. Civil unrest has plagued the country for nearly a decade. Far before the current conflict, the country endured financial instability and food insecurity. Under former president Abradbbuh Mansour Hadi, half of the population lived below the poverty line suffering from high rates of unemployment and feeble governance. When Hadi failed to remedy these struggles, an armed militia called Houthi stormed the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, in September 2014, overtaking the government and forcing Hadi and affiliated government officials to flee Yemen. Though, despite being exiled, Hadi returned with a western-backed coalition led by Saudi Arabia to try to restore power to the Hadi government. Since then, the conflict has only gotten worse as each party tries to gain leverage over the other- trapping Yemen citizens in the middle of a civil war.
As war continues, destruction follows along with the threat of hunger, disease, and economic collapse. Yemen has been on the verge of a famine for years and conditions are only worsening. Approximately 90 percent of the food Yemen receives is imported but because of the current civil war, the majority of the sea ports have been closed making it difficult for supplies to enter. This obstruction of imports has caused other basic essentials such as medical supplies and fuel to be severely limited. The lack of fuel has led to water systems going down and treatment facilities becoming obscure leaving left 20.5 million people without access to clean water. The United Nations has stated that a child under the age of five has died every 10 minutes from the lack of basic human necessities such as clean water and access to food.
This is unacceptable. A preventable humanitarian crisis is unfolding right before our eyes and we cannot sit idly by while Yemeni people suffer and die futility. Being a bystander while human rights are being violated is not an option. Spreading awareness, donating money, and signing petitions have the power to help change someone’s life. This is a call to action. Hold yourself accountable and be a part of the change.