The Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen Worsens

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In recent days, Saudi Arabia has been in the headlines because of its government’s suspected killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. This is a welcome development as the spotlight reaches further, highlighting the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Perhaps Kashoggi’s violent death will make Saudi Arabia’s Western allies rethink their support for its brutal role in the civil war. 

Although the UN along with aid agencies working on the ground in Yemen have been drawing attention to the horrific plight of Yemeni civilians, the international community has been slow to react. Both the US and UK have continued trading with Saudi Arabia despite the countries brutal response to the uprising. 

Yemeni Children, photo via Flickr

In April 2018, the UN Secretary-General made the following remark to a donor conference in Geneva: 

“Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. As the conflict enters its fourth year, more than 22 million people – three-quarters of the population – need humanitarian aid and protection.”

Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres 

Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen – The Statistics

The civilian population has been bearing the brunt of the bloody civil war. At this point, the humanitarian crisis in Yemen has escalated, leaving millions of people at risk of starvation and death. 

This is the video that the UN released in March 2018:

Alongside, the UN published some stark statistics:

  • 79 per cent of the population live in poverty
  • 22 million (75 per cent) are in need of humanitarian aid
  • 60 per cent are lacking food
  • Less than half of all healthcare facilities are operating
  • 56 per cent of people do not have regular access to medical help
  • Nearly three-quarters of the population lacks clean drinking water
  • Nearly three million women and children are malnourished
  • Food prices have increased by 98 per cent

These statistics were published in March 2018. Since then, the humanitarian crisis in Yemen has worsened considerably. 

Yemen May Face Worst Famine in 100 years – UN Spokesperson warns

Irish journalist, Orla Guerin, who is based in Cairo, compiled a news report for the BBC. Returning to sites she visited two years ago, she says the humanitarian crisis in Yemen has got a lot worse.

In the course of the report, the BBC reporter also spoke to UN spokesperson, Lise Grande. 

International Response to the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen

Civilians in Yemen have asked the international community to act, yet so far, this has, indeed, been an ignored humanitarian crisis. Many countries across the globe continue to export arms to Saudi Arabia. Imposing an arms embargo appears to be out of the question despite Saudi Arabia’s brutal response to the uprising. 

In the wake of the death of Jamal Khashoggi, politicians across the globe have suggested imposing sanctions on Saudi Arabia. However, little political will seems to exist, and the Saudis have warned of rising oil prices should the international community impose such sanctions. 

Donald Trump made it clear that he wouldn’t like to stop trading with Saudi Arabia. 

Saudi Arabia Appears to Admit to “Interrogation Gone Wrong”

We await the international community’s response to breaking news suggesting that Saudi Arabia is preparing to admit that the journalist died as a result of an “interrogation gone wrong”. (source CNN).

It remains to be seen whether the brutal death of Jamal Khashoggi will provoke an international response – one that the death and suffering of millions of Yemeni civilians failed to produce. 

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