Yemen: crisis gets worse

A Yemenite showing the image of a wounded Yemeni child A Yemenite showing the image of a wounded Yemeni child NickolayV on iStock

15 October 2021

The health, economic and food situation in Yemen is worsening due to the long-standing conflict in the country

On the 10th October the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen, David Gressly, told how the Yemeni population continues to suffer the dire consequences of the ongoing conflicts and violence throughout the country, thus stressing the need to end hostilities so that people may be able to gradually rebuild their lives, which were destroyed by war. As Mr. Gressly states, schools, factories, communication routes and other critical public infrastructure have been heavily damaged; furthermore, Mr. Gressly highlighted the urgent need to support the people of Yemen through international funding dedicated to the support of basic public services.

During 2021, acute and severe malnutrition increased to previously unheard levels previously. Indeed, 2.3 million Yemeni children under the age of 5 currently suffer from acute malnutrition and 400,000 are in imminent danger of losing their lives;  1.2 million pregnant or breastfeeding women have also been affected. Additionally, within a country where diseases such as cholera, dengue fever, diphtheria and COVID-19 have spread, the healthcare system is critically dysfunctional, and 20 million Yemenis do not have access to basic medical care.To ensure the proper recovery of the country, experts say that it is necessary to support its civil servants, who have not been paid for months because of the conflict between the internationally supported faction of Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi and the Houthi opposition forces occupying the north of the country. According to Mr. Gressly, without the help of public officials, the cost of the humanitarian response is likely to rise.

Given concerns about the food situation in Yemen, the UN called for an additional $3.6 billion in funding in March. To date, nearly $2.1 billion has been raised; during the recent United Nations General Assembly, $500 to $600 million were pledged in addition to this amount. Mr. Gressly argues that although the international response to emergencies elsewhere has been greater, the focus on food security in this case has contributed to a more direct and efficient lifesaving response. On 14th of October, during a briefing before the UN Security Council, Assistant Secretary-General Ramesh Rajasingham further appealed to the international community to do everything possible to keep the famine from worsening.


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Author: Sara Taherzadeh; Editor: Maxime Grenier


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