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The Worsening Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen

The humanitarian crisis in Yemen may be about to get even worse. The World Food Programme is about to run short of funds and won’t be able to provide aid to the country:

After thirteen months of fighting between Houthi rebels and a Saudi Arabia-led coalition that has left more than 6,400 dead, this would be a major blow to a population already deep in the throes of a humanitarian crisis.

At last count in October 2015, 14.4 million Yemenis out of a population of 26 million were considered “food insecure,” including 7.6 million “severely insecure”: they don’t know where their next meal will come from.

At the moment, Kashyap explained, WFP [World Food Programme] is only able to provide food or food vouchers to a fraction of those who need it – 3.59 million in March. If the funding runs out, “even they will be without food,” she said.

Losing this aid would be another serious blow to the civilian population of Yemen. It bears repeating that the country wouldn’t be in these straits were it not for the Saudi-led intervention and blockade. The blockade is what has cut the country off from its normal supply of food, and lifting the blockade would be the most effective way to combat the near-famine conditions that the coalition has created over the last thirteen months. While negotiations continue in Kuwait in an attempt to halt the fighting, the blockade that is starving tens of millions of people remains in place. As long as the blockade is in force, humanitarian aid alone won’t be able to meet the needs of the people of Yemen.

The outside world has largely ignored the war on Yemen and the humanitarian catastrophe it has caused, and so it isn’t surprising that donations to fund assistance for Yemen have been paltry compared to the enormous needs of the population:

The organization has funding shortfalls worldwide, and the donor response to Yemen’s crisis hasn’t been particularly quick. The UN has received only 16 percent of the $1.8 billion it says it needs to cover the country’s needs for 2016, including $710.4 million for WFP alone [bold mine-DL].

Yemen’s worsening humanitarian crisis has received scant attention despite the fact that it is one of the gravest crises in the world today. If they do nothing else, the very least that outside governments could do is to provide funds to alleviate some of the civilian population’s suffering. We also shouldn’t forget that the U.S. and U.K. governments continue to back the senseless Saudi-led war on Yemen, including this obscene and unnecessary blockade that is causing the people of Yemen to waste away.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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