Monday July 04, 2022

War in Yemen

By our correspondents
September 10, 2017

The breakout of cholera in war-torn Yemen has accelerated the humanitarian crisis in the second most populated Arab country. More than one million children in Yemen are at risk of cholera with the provision of aid and medical supplies barely possible in the troubled country. The region has become symptomatic of humanitarian abuse after the Saudi-led intervention in the ongoing civil war increased instability. Seven thousand new cases of cholera have been reported daily. At least 1,915 have died from the disease, with 1,100 of them children. A total of almost 450,000 cases of cholera have been reported since April. The deliberate targeting of civilian infrastructure by the Saudi-led coalition has been blamed for the current situation, with the cholera epidemic emerging as the face of the broader humanitarian emergency in Yemen. With only 45 percent of health facilities functioning, around 15 million people have no access to basic healthcare. This is the compound effect of three years of civil war in a country that has become the site of a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

A UN report on Yemen, highlighting the humanitarian emergency there, has been rejected by Saudi Arabia. Yemen has faced an air and sea blockade that has been managed by the Saudi coalition, which has meant that aid flow into the region has been severely restricted. The first medical supplies to Yemen after the cholera outbreak only arrived four weeks after it started. The situation is so dire that almost 30,000 health workers in the capital of Sanaa have not received a salary for over a year while sanitation workers have been on strike for months. The number of cases reported in rebel-controlled areas has been higher than those in government-controlled areas pointing to the deliberate use of disease as a way of waging war. On the other side, aerial bombings have continued. Like the war in Syria, this is one with no end in sight.  Human Rights Watch has issued a report over how the Saudi-led coalition is avoiding liability for the war casualties. This has come as images of a 5-year-old girl, Buthania, with a broken skull were shared with the world. The girl is the sole survivor after her apartment complex was bombed in an airstrike. Waging war is a failing strategy that is only adding to the instability in the Middle East. The most affected are millions of ordinary people who fight hunger and disease to carry on for another day.