Yemen is ‘Hanging on by a thread’

Civil war, a health system collapse, and food shortages are leading to a humanitarian catastrophe in one of the Arab world’s poorest countries.

By David Icke Turner

Photo by Essa Ahmed

There seems to be no end in sight to the civil war and humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen. Having endured a bitter 5 year civil war brought on by regional tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Yemen is now on the precipice of total collapse of food, health, and civil infrastructure. The United Nations has cautioned that millions of Yemeni children are at peril of starvation due to “huge” shortfalls in food aid and medical relief. The 5 year civil war and coronavirus pandemic have converged to cause  a total collapse of the health system. The UN children’s agency, UNICEF, warns that 6000+ children could die within the next six months from “preventable diseases and malnutrition” due to the fractured healthcare system and a lack of basic necessities like water and soap.

“Four people out of every five, 24 million people in all, need lifesaving aid in what remains the world’s largest humanitarian crisis”, said UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “Two million Yemeni children are suffering from acute malnutrition, which could stunt their growth and affect them throughout their lives”. 

 “We are trying to prevent the health and water systems collapsing, and we were holding those pieces together. Now we are on the brink of collapse” warned Sara Beysolow Nyanti, Unicef’s representative for Yemen. “Covid could be the tipping point. Right now 75 percent of communities cannot afford to buy soap, and if they do have the money, the choice will be to buy something they can eat or medicine.”

Yemen has quickly become the largest humanitarian crisis in the world. More than 24 million people – roughly 80 percent of the population – is in dire need of humanitarian assistance. This includes more than 12 million children. Since the civil war began in March 2015, Yemen has become a living hell for the country’s children.

The Coronavirus has exacerbated what was already a fragile state of affairs. With COVID-19 now rapidly spreading, the Arab state is facing a dire health emergency during a civil war. Clean water is in dangerously short supply. Only 50% health facilities are ‘functioning’ yet most lack basic operational equipment like masks and gloves.  Critical Covid treatments like oxygen are virtually non-existent. Health workers are not receiving wages to treat the 10+ million children that do not have healthcare.

Children continue to be a casualty of the Yemeni Civil War. many have been killed and maimed in the conflict. The damage and closure of schools and hospitals has disrupted already fractured education and health services.

Before the pandemic, more than 2 million children were unable to go to school as a result of their civil war. With the arrival of coronavirus, schools have been comprehensively shut down, leaving some 7.8 million children unable to access education

The situation in Yemen is spiralling out of control and leaves millions of children in ever growing danger. Please consider donating to UNICEF to help aid the children of Yemen. Unicef is also facing budget shortfalls and is in desperate need to meet monetary benchmarks.  “Unicef is facing a funding gap in 2020. We need your help to close it.”


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