Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen
Aid agencies and Catholic officials are sounding the alarm on Yemen’s spiraling humanitarian crisis, calling on the combatants to end the war and make badly need assistance available.
Yemen is facing the largest humanitarian crisis of this time, according to the United Nations. The impoverished nation at the tip of the Arabian Peninsula is now the most food-insecure population in the world due to the 4-year-old conflict.
“A war is ongoing in Yemen, but the big world does not seem to be very interested,” said Bishop Paul Hinder, apostolic vicar of Southern Arabia, which includes Yemen.
“There are innumerable people internally displaced because they fled from the war,” he said
“A wonderful nation with a cultural tradition spanning millennia is about to be destroyed,” warned Bishop Hinder, decrying the lack of international resolve to end the conflict tearing Yemen apart.
Observers say Yemen has been caught up in a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and its regional archrival, Iran. More than 10000 people have been killed, millions have been displaced and it has pushed Yemen to the verge of starvation.
Nearly 21 million people in Yemen need humanitarian aid; two-thirds of the population is on the brink of starvation, without access to adequate food and clean water to survive each day.
Some 1,8 million Yemeni children are malnourished, making them more vulnerable to disease, the UN children’s agency, UNICEF, reported. These children include nearly 400000 whose lives are at risk from severe acute malnutrition. Some 68% of the population lacks access to basic health care.
Johan Mooij, CARE International’s Yemen country director, said there is currently only enough food to sustain the country’s population for two months.
Meanwhile, Yemen’s cholera outbreak — the worst in the world — is accelerating again, with roughly 10000 suspected cases now reported per week, according to the World Health Organisation.
“The international community cannot ignore anymore the tragedy going on. The warring parties have to be pressured in order to sit around the table and to make humanitarian help possible for all people in need,” said Bishop Hinder.
“The conspiratorial silence around this war has to be broken in order to force the warring parties to a cease-fire followed by serious peace talks,” Bishop Hinder said. Aid “must not be stopped by the war parties under whatever pretext”.and social events, such as weddings and funerals, have to be (condemned) by the international community,” Bishop Hinder said.—By Dale Gavlak , CNS