Yemen is in the midst of a tragic humanitarian crisis. The ongoing conflict that began in 2015 has had a devastating effect on the population, with outbreaks of epidemic diseases due to the destruction of infrastructure, especially fragile healthcare structures, poor sanitation and the embargo imposed on the country.
The closure of Yemen’s borders has disrupted the delivery of vital supplies to 27 million vulnerable people, resulting in an outburst of deaths from hunger concentrated among children and the elderly. 130 children die every day in Yemen due to extreme hunger and disease. As journalist Iona Craig reports, there is food in the market places but it is not affordable for the Yemenis because government wages have not been paid for over a year now. On top of that, the humanitarian aid coming to the country, on which 75% of the population relies, is blocked by a Saudi blockade.
Also, as the newsportal ‘The New Arab’ reports, cholera is assuming the proportions of a harsh epidemic. Yemen’s cholera crisis has now broken the record number of cases known in a single outbreak in recent history, and looks set to infect more than a million people by Christmas – including more than 600,000 children – Save the Children reported on Wednesday.
The World Health Organisation’s Global Health Observatory says the disease has spread faster than any recorded case of cholera and now is the largest in modern history. The WHO reports 815,314 cases of the disease in Yemen as of October 10, along with 2,156 deaths, since April 27.
The saddest part of the story is the poor media coverage of this massive humanitarian crisis, perhaps because the rich gulf countries are on one side of this conflict. Armed by western countries like the UK and the USA, they are hammering down on Yemen and the response of the world is, complete silence. Can it be that lucrative arms deals have deafened the west to the anguished cries of the Yemeni population?
Alexis is an economist and member of DSC-Athens.
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