Protesters against the Yemen War in the U.K. (Image courtesy of Tony Hall / Flickr)

Opinion

The humanitarian crisis within Yemen’s ongoing eight-year civil war

Yemen is considered to have among the worst humanitarian crises in the world and continues to after eight years since the start of the Yemen civil war. When will it end?
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/sbustindui/" target="_self">Santiago Bustindui</a>

Santiago Bustindui

July 21, 2022
The Middle East is a region that has faced centuries of cruel and bloody conflicts that have resulted in the lives of millions of people. These conflicts include the Iran-Iraq war in 1980, which resulted in tens of thousands of civilian deaths, the War in Afghanistan caused by the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 and much more.

However, the conflict that is among the worst humanitarian crises in the world due to widespread disease, hunger, famines and attacks is the ongoing 8-year Yemen Civil War.  

The Civil war began in 2014 when Houthi insurgents took control of Yemen’s capital and largest city, demanding lower fuel prices and the construction of a new government. However, after failing to negotiate, the rebels stormed and seized the presidential palace forcing president Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi and his government to resign in January of 2015. 

Since then, the conflict between the Houthi insurgents and other powers, including the United States, Al-Qaeda and more, has significantly affected millions of lives within Yemen. 

Since 2015, The UN has estimated that more than 50% of the 233,000 deaths in the Yemen civil war conflict result from a lack of food and health services. As of March, more than 17 million people, including children, are still in desperate need of food assistance and healthcare. The severe food crisis in Yemen has left families resorting to eating anything to stay alive, including a family living off of leaves from local vines in a remote area of northern Yemen.

Amid the starvation and famines occurring in Yemen during the civil war, widespread diseases like Cholera have affected more than 2.5 million people from 2016 to December 2020. In 2019, the pandemic also had devastating effects on Yemen. The World Health Organization claims that more than 10,000 have been reported with the virus, but it is safe to assume the number is likely higher due to a lack of data.

However, the virus itself isn’t the only problem. Less than half of health facilities are properly functioning, and those that remain operational lack essential equipment. Many countries have also cut their assistance to Yemen amid the chaotic rise of Covid. The UN reduced their food rations to more than eight million Yemenis in early 2022. 

Although faced with a chaotic and severe humanitarian crisis amid its civil war, in April, Yemen met a very critical turning point in the civil war. The conflicting parties agreed on a statewide ceasefire. Hans Grunberg, a UN envoy, wrote: “The aim of this truce is to give Yemenis a necessary break from violence, relief from the humanitarian suffering and most importantly hope that an end to this conflict is possible.”

After two weeks of the truce period continuing, the Houthis signed an action plan with the UN to cease the use of child soldiers. This signed action plan is a significant step in moving forward with relieving the humanitarian crisis within Yemen. Although there is a long way to go, if such peace treaties continue, it will open a window of opportunity to aid the Yemenis people like never before.

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