Yemen’s humanitarian crisis


Emma Rasmussen

Yemen is on the verge of a full-blown famine

The World Food Program has warned that Yemen is on the brink of full-blown famine, with 18 million of its 29 million population labeled food insecure, and 8.4 million at a more severe level. The cost of food is also rapidly rising there with the price increasing nearly 35 percent in the last year.

The country’s civil war began in 2015, which destroyed its economy and caused the collapse of their currency by nearly 180 percent. To date their 1 Yemeni riyal equals .004 of a US dollar, less than even half a penny.

The civil war is between the internationally recognized Yemen Government and the Houthis, a rebel group. Much of the fighting is confined to the most impoverished parts of Yemen and ports that supply Yemen with nearly 70-80% of its food.

Access in the Saudi-led coalition has substantially improved, but areas still controlled by the Houthis are less accessible and more prone to widespread hunger and disease.

This type of conflict is generations old and comes down to the different factions of Islam and different ideas on political and economic rule. The Houthis are Shia rebels who began to pick up momentum back in 2014 as a movement in Yemen.

As of March this year, at least 10,000 Yemenis have been killed by the fighting with more than 40,000 casualties overall, though death toll information is often difficult to obtain. Iran has backed the rebels through arms deals against the wishes of the UN, while Saudi Arabia is backing the internationally recognized government in fear of its porous border with the country.

The conflict is difficult to solve due to the many foreign countries involved in Yemen’s war and the generations these divisions have endured, because of this it is often seen as a pattern that is going across the Middle East in places such as Syria. Some see this war as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Due to the chaos of this conflict, branches of Al Qaeda and ISIS have taken over territories in the country as well.