Sunday September 25, 2022

Famine in Yemen

By Editorial Board
March 23, 2022

As the world looks on with its usual indifference, Yemen faces a potential famine-like situation. According to UN agencies assessing the situation, from 31,000 people who face near-starvation this year, the number is likely to rise to 161,000 over the coming months. Of these people, 2.2 million who are in a situation close to or at starvation are children. The apathy towards the conflict in Yemen – and even the misery of the people of Afghanistan – becomes all the more stark when compared to the way the world has reacted to the war in the Ukraine and the situation in Europe. Once again, we can see a duplicity of standards in the manner in which conflict is treated.

The UN has warned that the change in food supplies to the world caused by the Ukraine-Russia war will have a further impact on Yemen, which imports most of its food supplies, and obtains one-third of its wheat from Ukraine. Without this flow of wheat, conditions of food security could worsen even further. At a time when the OIC meet is going on in Islamabad, there is hope that the situation in Yemen – which was on the agenda – will finally get the attention it deserves. It is encouraging that the speakers at the OIC session have named Yemen as an issue that needs to be resolved with dialogue not violence. At this moment, all of the Muslim world needs to unite and ensure that the people of Yemen are saved from literally dying as a result of a lack of food. There can be no excuse for ignoring this humanitarian catastrophe -- just like there is no excuse to wait around and see the Afghan people also face starvation. Food and medical supplies need to be supplied to Yemen without bias and without any attempt to further ignore the crisis in the country. The only way to prevent an even larger humanitarian crisis in Yemen is by observing a ceasefire and convincing all actors to step back from the country. Should this not happen, war crimes will become even more routine and the war could drag on for years longer.