Lama Fakih reports on the cruel strangulation of Yemen by the Saudi-led blockade:
The harsh and arbitrary restrictions imposed by the Saudi-led coalition on importing vital supplies, including fuel, have slowed to a trickle the flow of life-saving assistance and basic goods needed for survival. The World Food Programme (WFP) says it has managed to ship some 300,000 liters of fuel and other supplies into the country during the humanitarian ceasefire. But this shipment is only a fraction of the amount needed for the WFP’s operations in one month.
In a rare joint public statement, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders on May 4 expressed deep concern about the obstruction of deliveries of humanitarian aid, noting that the coalition’s restrictions on imports, “have made the daily lives of Yemenis unbearable, and their suffering immense.”
The war on Yemen has been going on for two months, and for almost all of that time the Saudis and their partners have been depriving the civilian population of crucial supplies of food, medicine, and fuel. Last week’s “humanitarian pause” was just long enough so that the U.N. and other organizations could assess how much worse the humanitarian crisis in the country had become. Unfortunately, aid organizations were not able to do very much to ameliorate that crisis because the “pause” was so brief. The U.N. now estimates that more than half a million people have been displaced by the war, and that number will only keep increasing as the campaign drags on. The number of civilians put at risk from the shortages imposed by the blockade is many times that number.
The situation for civilians in Yemen is dire, and it has come about mostly because of the Saudi-led coalition’s decision to attack and blockade the country. The intervention has been both entirely unnecessary and extremely harmful. The Saudis could halt the attacks and the blockade at any time, and that would remove two of the major causes of the country’s current woes, but of course we know that they aren’t going to do that. The U.S. continues to lend support to this indefensible war, and in so doing endorses the Saudis’ strangling of Yemen.