What You Need To Know About The Yemeni Crisis

Image:    Lorenzo Tugnoli

Image: Lorenzo Tugnoli

According to the United Nations, the world’s largest humanitarian crisis right now is occurring in Yemen, with 14 million people (approximately 47% of the country’s population) susceptible to starvation and outbreaks of fatal diseases. Despite this astounding figure, the Yemen humanitarian crisis is receiving a marginal amount of attention from US-based media companies.

The Yemeni crisis has been ongoing since 2011 when uprisings against longtime authoritarian leader Ali Abdullah Saleh forced him to hand over power to successor Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. Hadi’s weakness as president created an opening for the Houthi movement to establish control over the Saada province and neighboring areas. The Houthi forces’ attempts to take over the entire country of Yemen led to Hadi fleeing abroad in March of 2015. Concerned by the rise of the Shia Houthi, Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Arab states campaigned to return control to Hadi’s government. Saudi Arabia’s campaigns were supported by the United States, the United Kingdom, and France. Saudi Arabia officials predicted that the war was only to last a few weeks, but four years of military stalemate followed.

The Houthis still have not been displaced from their control in Sanaa and the war has begun to seem perpetual. The conflicts have taken a major toll on Yemen’s civilian population. Although violated by the laws of war, airstrikes targeting Yemen have killed thousands of civilians. Developed countries backing Saudi Arabia, including the United States, are partially to blame for providing munitions.

The future of Yemen’s civilian population appears to be bleak, with 22.2 million people in need of humanitarian assistance or protection, including 11.3 million people severely needing aid to survive. The United Nations estimates that 17.8 million are food insecure (in fact, 8.4 million of these people are unsure of where their next meal will come from), 16 million lack access to safe water and sanitation, and 16.4 million lack access to adequate healthcare. The war on the Houthi movement has caused civilians to bear the brunt of the violence, but for the humanitarian crisis to be resolved, the conflict must cease.

Layla Lukas Comment