Yemen’s Escalating Humanitarian Crisis Has New Hope with Greater Efforts

The conflict that has been raging in Yemen for the last three years, with a body count of 5,000 civilians, came to a head on November 6th when a missile fired by Houthi rebels was intercepted near Riyadh. Now the Houthi-held ports in Yemen, where 70% of the population requires emergency aid, are experiencing a blockade of food, medical supplies, and humanitarian aid.

According to a UN News Center report, 90% of Yemen’s basic needs are satisfied by imports.

Currently, around 3 million people have been displaced, forty-nine of the country’s 276 districts lack doctors, and 17 million people lack reliable access to food. Yemen also experienced the largest ever single-year outbreak of cholera from April to September.

On Tuesday the 28th, the spokesperson of the Arab League’s chief called the situation a “humanitarian crisis amid continuous and noticeable deterioration in living conditions,” citing the state of children, the elderly and the sick in Yemen.

He claimed that the group’s leader, Ahmed Abul-Gheit, believes that “solving this crisis should be the highest priority for the international community.

The White House released a press statement on Friday which condemns the actions of the Houthi rebels as well as their benefactors in Iran, but names “humanitarian relief as the top priority.”

“We look forward to additional steps that will facilitate the unfettered flow of humanitarian and commercial goods from all ports of entry to the points of need,” the statement states. “The magnitude of suffering in Yemen requires all parties to this conflict to focus on assistance to those in need.”

According to the statement,The Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps exploits the grave humanitarian crisis in Yemen to advance its regional ambitions.”

“Millions of Yemenis are currently enduring severe deprivation; the United States continues to believe that this devastating conflict, and the suffering it causes, must be brought to an end through political negotiations.”

Planes were allowed into Yemen’s main airport on Saturday, and a day later, a major port received a much needed shipment of flour, marking a potential end to the blockade.

However, humanitarian groups have warned against relaxing efforts to end the crisis. Geert Cappelare, regional UNICEF director, stated on Sunday that while they are “very grateful for what we could achieve yesterday,” the shipments are “not enough.”

“Far more humanitarian supplies are needed today,” he said. “Yesterday’s success cannot be a one-off.”

UNICEF was able to get 1.9 million vaccine doses to Yemen this weekend as well, but more challenges presented themselves. “Getting the supplies is one part,” said Cappelare. “Ensuring that the supplies —whatever they are — are reaching every single vulnerable girl and boy throughout Yemen is another challenge.”

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