Yemen has been the worst and largest humanitarian crisis in the world for several years, with over 24 million people that need aid. This has been happening for many years now, but the conflict became especially violent in March 2015 when the Saudi-led coalition got involved. Nearly 80% of the population rely on aid to just survive.
Yemen’s president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, was forced to hand over power to his deputy, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, in November 2011 as part of a Gulf Cooperation Council-brokered agreement. However, the political transition to Hadi had created some extreme issues. He had to work to tackle widespread poverty and food insecurity, suicide bombings, a separatist movement in the south, rebellions throughout the country, and fights against al-Qaeda militants. All of these factors ended up sparking the war.
The Houthis are a political Shia rebel group that is loyal to former President Saleh, whereas the forces were loyal to Hadi. In 2014, Houthis forces took over Sanaa, the capital of Yemen. Early 2015, they and Saleh loyalists attempted to take over the entire country, which led to Hadi’s escape to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia considered the Houthi actions an immediate threat and worried that this could be Iran’s chance to gain a foothold on their border; therefore, they accused Iran of backing the Houthis. Tehran, the capital of Iran, denied any involvement.
This led to Saudi Arabia starting an alliance with United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sudan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, and Senegal and began a military campaign that caused a devastating impact on Yemen. The Saudi-led coalition was also backed by the United States, Britain, France, Canada, and Turkey and was provided with weapons, intelligence, military personnel, and logistical support. They wanted to restore Hadi’s government but has been having trouble gaining control of the northern region, including Sanaa.
Meanwhile, Al-Qaeda fighters in the Arabian Peninsula and ISIL affiliates used this opportunity to reign terror on the regions by seizing parts of the south and stepping up their attacks in Aden, which is controlled by the government. The majority of the outbreaks occur in Houthi-governed areas in Yemen where they have failed to manage garbage and sewage and, instead, polluting the streets.
This ongoing war greatly impacts Yemen civilians. The destruction of infrastructure and restrictions on food and fuel imports are leaving over 14 million Yemenis helpless unless they receive humanitarian help as soon as possible. However, there is the fear that international aid isn’t getting to those who need it the most, which is impacting the spread of the cholera outbreak and making it all the more difficult to manage and control. About two-thirds of Yemenis don’t have access to clean water.
On top of all this, civilians are particularly susceptible to the Covid-19 pandemic. The death rates in Aden are increasing much more rapidly this year. “Back then, Aden was devastated by heavy fighting, its streets blasted by rockets and its houses peppered with bullets. Now the city’s biggest killers are silent.” In addition to the Covid-19 outbreak, there’s another virus called the Chikungunya virus, a mosquito-transmitted virus.
Many Yemenis had to flee their homes due to the serious laws-of-war violations, including Saudi-led coalition’s illegal airstrikes on homes, schools, hospitals, etc. and the Houthis’ unselective shooting of neighborhoods. Innocent civilians are being displaced and cramming in already overcrowded camps where they have inadequate health services and humanitarian aid.
Many malnutrition centers and hospitals were also forced to close. They will continue to close due to the shortfalls of funding and doctors’ concerns about their own personal care and safety. They are left unaided, unprotected, and forced to live in deplorable camp conditions as refugees, including recent flooding that destroyed the city’s power grid. Children are unjustly murdered on a daily basis, with around 2 million children under five years old suffering from acute malnutrition and require treatments. Schools and hospitals are being forced to close, which disrupted access to health and education services, depriving over 5 million children of their future.
All these factors leave Yemenis vulnerable and Yemen lacks the capability to contain.
The war has accomplished little to nothing, and the attempts to mediate the conflict have been fruitless. Yemen is in a complete impasse. Neither side wants to relent power and end this war. Below is a detailed link to learn more about Yemen and its crisis along with petitions to sign, places to donate, and more. Without widespread help, Yemen will eventually go extinct. It’s our duty to help in any and every way we can.
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