No End in Sight to the Humanitarian Crisis Afflicting 80 per cent of Yemen’s Population

Ravaged by years of military destruction, displacement, famine and disease, the Yemen Crisis is only getting worse

Yemen remains the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, according to the United Nations. Eighty percent of the population are in need of humanitarian assistance or protection. (Flickr/ EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid)

Out of the 28 million people who live in Yemen, a country at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia, approximately 22 million of them are in need of aid. The United Nations Refugee Agency is calling it “a neglected crisis.”

Reportedly, 17 million are going without adequate food, two million have been forced out of their homes, and another million are afflicted with cholera.

For decades, Yemen has had a complex history of civil conflict. A significant point in this history was the formation of the Houthi movement—an opposition to former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, whom they charged with financial corruption and criticized for being backed by Saudi Arabia and the United States.

Tensions increased after Saleh and the Yemeni army killed the Houthi Movement leader Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi in 2004, which sparked the Houthi insurgency in Yemen, pitting Zaidi Shia Houthis (though the movement also includes Sunnis) against the Yemeni military. This began in Northern Yemen and eventually escalated into a full-scale civil war.

The civil war intensified in 2015 after outside intervention from a Saudi-led coalition against the Houthi movement. Ironically, former president Saleh, who ordered the assassination of al-Houthi, has since joined the Houthi movement against the Saudi coalition.

The coalition claims they will restore the internationally recognized Yemeni government and stability to the country, but it is widely believed that outsider involvement in Yemen is mainly profit driven.

As The Guardian puts it, Riyadh (the Capital of Saudi Arabia) “expected its air power, backed by regional coalition including the United Arab Emirates, could defeat the Houthi insurgency in a matter of months.” Instead, years later, the country continues to be ravaged by civil unrest and outside meddling.

As the war persists, destroying infrastructure and disrupting basic services and food provision, there does not seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel for Yemen. According to the UN Refugee Agency, the number of Yemeni people in need of some form of aid is only increasing, with no political solution in sight.

So who is benefiting from the continuous destruction of this country? An article entitled “Here’s Exactly Who is Profiting from The War on Yemen,” writes that “Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s richest countries, has been bombing Yemen, the fifth-poorest nation in the world, since 2015—with support from the United States.”

The article continues that Saudi Arabia’s mission is to “topple the Houthis, which overthrew Yemen’s president, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, a Saudi ally, in February 2015.” Caught in the middle of a political and geographical power struggle, nearly 10,000 Yemeni civilians have been killed, with another 10,000 severely injured, on top of the 4/5ths of the country surviving on food and medical aid.

“U.S. arms merchants, however, have grown rich,” the article states, citing the $30.1 billion in Saudi military contracts approved by the State Department.

The war in Yemen has been “particularly lucrative” for General Dynamics, Boeing, and Raytheon, companies that received hundreds of millions of dollars in Saudi weapons deals.

If you feel moved to make a contribution to the aid efforts, the UNHCR accepts donations to help Yemeni families access food, rent, and medicine while they are displaced.