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Yemen Battles the World’s Worst Humanitarian Crisis

Country’s Diminishing Resources Leave People in Need


Yemen, a country which is located on the Arabian peninsula in Asia, is currently experiencing the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. The crisis primarily began with the 2011–2012 revolution against former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who had led Yemen for more than three decades. Issues intensified with the start of the Yemen War in 2015. The United States had 100 military advisors that were supporting the government’s fight against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.  


Houthi rebels, a minority Shia group from the north of the country, drove out the US-backed government. The group was led by President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, and they took over Sanaa, the capital of Yemen. The issues escalated into a multi-sided war, which allowed terror groups al-Qaeda and ISIS to grow stronger.  


An article from PBS describes the number of people that are being impacted by this ongoing war: “The U.N. (United Nations) estimates that 366,000 Yemenis have been displaced due to the Houthi rebellion and other tribal clashes in the north of the country, including 52,000 who fled their homes in the first part of this year.”  


A quote from the International Rescue Committee demonstrates how groups are trying to gain control of the country: “After rebel groups overtook the government, the Saudi- and Emirati-led coalition has been attempting to regain control by launching thousands of airstrikes, many of which have hit homes and public areas such as schools, health facilities and markets. Thousands of civilians have been killed and tens of thousands injured as a result. In fact, August 2018 was the deadliest month so far, with nearly 500 civilians killed in the first nine days.” These attacks make it difficult for humanitarian organizations to deliver aid to the country.


According to United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, three quarters of the nation is in desperate need of aid and protection.  Eight million people in the country do not know where they are getting their next meal. Statistics discovered by CNN state that, "Every ten minutes, a child under five dies of preventable causes."  


The capital, Sanaa, is in danger of becoming the first capital in history to run out of the already scarce resources.  Forty-four percent of the population are undernourished and five million are in need of emergency aid. “Unless urgent humanitarian action is taken, Yemen will be plunged into a hunger crisis of catastrophic proportions,” said Jerry Farrell, Save the Children’s Yemen director.  


Refugee camps are overcrowded and the nation lacks sanitation, health care, and clean water. Without access to clean drinking water the country as a whole is at high risk of a cholera epidemic. Cholera is a bacterial disease contracted by ingesting contaminated water or food. It is prevalent in places with poor sanitation, unclean water and inadequate hygiene. Cholera can lead to severe dehydration and shock. If fluids are not replaced quickly, death can occur within a few hours. 


Those who want to help the country can donate money to organizations. Lily Caprani, from Unicef UK says, “While we appreciate all volunteers... the best thing the public can do to help is to donate so organizations like Unicef can continue their life-saving work.”  With these donations, organizations can bring in doctors and supplies such as food, safe water, and medicine to the nation in need. If you are interested in helping this humanitarian crisis, Unicef and the International Rescue Committee are accepting donations.  


Unicef USA:


International Rescue Committee: