close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
 
July 13, 2020

More misery

Editorial

 
July 13, 2020

Yemen has hovered on the brink of famine since 2016, a year after the catastrophic war between Houthi rebels and a Saudi Arabian-led force devastated the country with its people facing regular bombardment of rebel positions and a severe shortage of food and medical supplies. Now, the UN has warned that Yemen is once again on the brink of famine. Its donor funds that had averted the catastrophe in early 2019 dwindle. The coronavirus pandemic which rages through the country unchecked adds to the problem, leaving people increasingly vulnerable. While 1,380 cases and 364 deaths have officially been reported, it is believed by humanitarian workers that the number could be far higher. At the same time, families hit by the crisis will quickly move into a situation where they are unable to sustain themselves. So who is responsible? According to the UN, it has been able to raise only around half of the $2.41 billion in aid pledged for Yemen at a donor conference co-hosted by Saudi Arabia in June.

The Riyadh Police and Military Coalition is backing the government ousted by the Houthis in 2015 against militant outfits. There is a sectarian element to the warfare. Yemen’s humanitarian crisis is the worst in the world according to the UN, with tens of thousands killed, millions displaced and eighty percent of the country’s population of 29 million people dependent on aid for their survival. The problem is that this aid is not coming in. Much of it has been diverted to tackle the global Covid crisis; in other cases, countries have simply not come through. It seems the international community has lost interest in Yemen and the suffering of its people. Millions of children are at risk of famine and many families face the daily possibility of death. The Covid-19 situation has complicated matters. It is however essential that a safe passage be created to bring in funds, food and essential medical aid to Yemenis.

But beyond the horror of the immediate crisis, it is also necessary to find a long-term solution. Saudi Arabia, the UK and the US have pledged large amounts in aid for the country. But what Yemen truly needs is an end to the fighting. This can only happen through a truce worked out between the Yemeni government, the Houthis separatist elements and their primary foreign backers – mainly the Saudis, the Iranians and the Emiratis. Until the peace agreement can be made, Yemen cannot rebuild itself and till this process begins more people will continue to die every day as hunger threatens to overtake the country and add further to the misery which it already faces.