“Yemen needs your help” “This is the greatest humanitarian crisis in history!” “The UN expects 14 million people to starve in Yemen”.
These are all phrases I’m sure you’ve heard all over social media. While before this crisis, Yemen was really only known for being Chandler’s escape from Janice, the spotlight has been on the small Middle Eastern country for the past year as a result of the devastating war raging on in the country. But what exactly is happening that is going to cause 14 million people to starve?
The war roots from 2011, when President Ali Abdullah Saleh, was forced to hand over the presidency to Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. Saleh held a long authoritarian regime. Under his rule, Yemen was one of the poorest nations in the world and many people living on less than $2 a day. He was forced to renounce his position after mass public protests. However, the new president, Hadi, struggled to deal with many issues such as terrorism, separatist movements, corruption and poverty.
In southern Yemen, the Houthis, a Shia rebel group fighting for separation, took advantage of Hadi poor leadership and were able to take control of large areas in the South. Many Yemenis supported the Houthis. In late 2014 the Houthis took control of Sanaa, the capital. However, the Houthis are also loyal to Saleh and as the Houthis began taking control of Yemen, Saleh was able to regain control and presidency. Hadi was forced to flee.
Why are civilian deaths and casualties so high? How is the war so deeply affecting the Yemeni people? Famine and civilian fatalities are largely a consequence of Saudi Arabia’s and US intervention.
Iran (a Shia nation) began supporting the Houthis around 2012 which lead to Saudi Arabia supporting president Hadi. Saudi Arabia is supported by the US. Saudi Arabia has been firing airstrikes into Yemen (about 72 bombs a day). However, most of these bombs are falling on civilians rather than military bases. Saudi Arabia is also deliberately targeting food distribution in the nation by purposely bombing farms, fishing boats, ports, food storages, and food factories. Saudi bombs have also destroyed 1,500 schools. The US has also lent Saudi Arabia billions of dollars in arms. The Houthis have also been accused of confiscating food from civilians.
To help the Yemeni donate to any of the following charities below: