68 Yemeni civilians were killed in two separate air strike attacks in a single day, as Yemen’s civil war rages on and the civilian death toll continues to rise, both as a direct and indirect consequence of the war. The airstrikes occurred on a farm and at a marketplace and wounded 32 people. Yemeni officials claimed that the attack came from the Saudi Arabia-led coalition of the war. While the marketplace was close to previous clashes between both sides during the war, it is unclear if the farm was near or had any connections to any military bases or strongholds.
Yemen’s civil war began in 2015 when the government was pushed out and forced into exile by the Shiite rebel group Houthi and parts of the Yemeni army. Backed by Iran, the Northern rebels seized control of major parts of Yemen along with major hospitals, bridges, factories, and other infrastructure and networks. That said, the ousted government has the support of Saudi Arabia, who have launched an aggressive air campaign to restore the government. This coalition, which includes several other Arab nations, also has the support of the U.S. However, the war has mainly resulted in a deadlock between the two sides and an end to the war without a political solution seems unlikely, according to Jamie McGoldrick, the United Nations Air Coordinator in Yemen.
As a result of the civil war, Yemen has been pushed into, what the United Nations has labelled, the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and the effect on Yemen’s population has been devastating.
Meanwhile, among other infrastructure, rebel groups have also seized control of the internet, banks, ports, sewage facilities, and the airport in the capital, Sana’a. This has resulted in an inability to fly merchant goods into Yemen or fly injured people out for medical care abroad. This, in turn, has affected Yemen’s economy and has plunged the country into an economic crisis that is threatening many other sectors, including health, civil service, and education.
Furthermore, as a result of the poor sanitation and health services in Yemen, along with a lack of access to food and water, a cholera outbreak has claimed the lives of over 2,200 people and infected at least one million others since April 2017. This outbreak has only worsened due to rampant malnutrition and the difficulty of providing humanitarian aid to those in need, which has culminated in the worst cholera outbreak in modern history.
Lastly, the political vacuum caused by the war is being exploited by Al Qaeda, who took control of large areas of land in southern Yemen, and so far, continue to maintain control despite U.S. counterterrorism efforts in the country. The civilian death toll due to the war alone has reached over 8,000 people and displaced another three million.
Yemen’s civil war has created a humanitarian crisis that, along with the war itself, continues to kill, injure, and displace thousands, with no clear end or solution in sight. Continuing the war under current circumstances in the hope that one side will win seems ineffective, and can only result in more loss of life and a worsening crisis. In any case, an increase in humanitarian aid, and its distribution efficiency has to be a priority in order to help the millions suffering as a result of the war.
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