Yemeni health officials have reported that on Wednesday November 1 an airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition killed 25 civilians on a busy Northern Yemen street. The coalition is currently attempting to influence outcomes of the Yemeni Civil War, and before the incident had already been included on a United Nations list of parties that kill and injure children in armed conflict, causing a total of 683 child casualties in 2016. The airstrike occurred in an area densely populated with Shiite rebels known as Houthis, but the victims of the airstrike were all civilians. According to a statement by the official Saudi Press Agency there will be a full review of operations in the area by the Joint Forces Command.
Intense civil war has been a consistent cause of humanitarian crisis in Yemen. UN numbers suggest that around 21 million people in Yemen are in need of humanitarian assistance, that’s around 82 percent of the population. Coalition-enforced blockades have been withholding imports from entering the country, imports which make up 80 to 90 percent of the country’s food and medical supplies.
Due to coalition and rebel bombings obliterating Yemeni sanitation systems and hospitals, and the restricting of access to medical and food supplies, a serious cholera outbreak has occurred in Yemen. According to the World Health Organization Yemen had 777,229 suspected cases of cholera as of October 1, and the death toll is at 2,134. “It is completely shocking. The existence of a cholera outbreak in general is unforgivable in the 21st century because it means there’s no access to clean water or sanitation,” said Ruairidh Villar of Save our Children. While as of November the number of new cases of cholera has fallen, there is still an extreme shortage of doctors and medical facilities to treat those with the disease.
Homer Venters, the director of programs at the New York based Physicians for Human Rights has spoken out on the situation in Yemen stating that, “while cholera is treatable, life-saving medical supplies aren’t reaching communities in need. The closure of airports and a naval blockade has left tens of millions of people in Yemen without vital humanitarian aid.”
Due to the ongoing civil war there seems to be no end in sight for the crisis in Yemen. At least 1,500 Yemeni people have left their homes to find safety in the small African country of Djibouti. Leonard Doyle of the International Organization for Migration has said that, “the eyes of the world have to see what’s happening […] it’s kind of shocking that the coalition and others deem it not appropriate to have external eyes on it because that’s what we need, we need to know what’s going on.”
Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the Middle East and is facing devastating amounts of destruction, a large portion of which is coming from some of the wealthiest countries in the world. Hunger levels in Yemen are some of the highest in the world, on average a child dies every 10 minutes from a preventable cause, and large amounts of people are being displaced due to violence or the destruction of their homes. While countries such as the U.S. have promised and already given large amounts of money to aid the crisis in Yemen, the only solution to the crisis is to put an end to the continued destruction caused by both rebel forces and the Saudi led and U.S. funded coalition.
I did my undergraduate work at Pitzer College (Claremont, CA), where I earned a Bachelor's of Arts in International Political Economy.
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