Author: Karuna Savoie
As of now, more than 20 million people are hungry in Yemen as a result of war. Headlines juxtapose the situation; The Odyssey Online touts, “Yemen Is The New Syria,” while a BBC news headline “Syria-plus” is supported by the Atlantic Council’s statement, “Syria and Yemen Could Have Been Jordan,” in August. The transition of power from Yemen’s former president Ali Abdullah Saleh to his deputy and current president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, terrorist attacks on the capital Sana’a, and a Saudi-led bombing coalition have inflamed the destitution.
The country was the Arabian Peninsula’s poorest even before the escalation of conflict, importing 90 percent of its staple food, which provides a significant fraction of energy needs. Since 2015, however, Yemen’s airports and harbors have been closed at irregular intervals, and the economy has shrunk by half. Goods such as flour, sugar, canned beans and vegetable oil are now, on average, 80 percent more expensive since the start of the crisis.
Hunger is most urgent where fighting occurs.
It is estimated that 80,000 people have died because of the violence. From hunger and disease, even more. Along with food prices skyrocketing, Yemen has dire water shortages. An enormous portion of Yemeni infrastructure has fallen to destruction, mostly by UAE and Saudi Arabian jets. Viaducts, dams and water treatment plants have been annihilated.
In a 2010 article from The New Humanitarian, Saleh al-Dubby, director of the World Bank-funded Sana’a Basin Management Project, said in a statement that the Yemeni capital of Sana’a drills for water that fell to earth 8,000 years ago. This desperate necessity for fossil water means tapping into the last of the world’s natural resources. According to Ashraf al-Eryani of the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ), Yemen was the first country to do this.
Sana’a is not even the worst to be affected. The Saada Governorate, bordering Saudi Arabia, contains more than 60 percent of the country’s population. This enormous fraction has been placed into the “acute” category in terms of water necessity while their water continues to quickly dry up.
Some hope for escape. About 190,000 people have fled to different countries for security, but millions remain at home—displaced or in derelict, cramped shelters.
Ways to get involved
“Whenever possible, we buy the items we need to respond to an emergency in the affected country,” Ben Webster, head of emergencies at the British Red Cross, said in a statement. To help, please consider donating money to organizations such as the Red Cross, Save the Children and the International Rescue Committee. Along with new or second-hand supplies, donating money is especially critical so that such organizations have the means to obtain the supplies that victims of conflict need most.