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U.N. Official: Yemen’s Humanitarian Crisis Could Be the Worst in 50 Years

The head of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) describes [1] the horrific conditions in Yemen:

People in war-torn Yemen are facing a situation that “looks like the Apocalypse”, the UN’s humanitarian chief has told Al Jazeera, warning that the country could become the worst humanitarian disaster in half a century [bold mine-DL].

The main causes of the catastrophe engulfing Yemen have not changed. Just as they have been since the spring of 2015, the Saudi-led war and blockade continue to devastate Yemen and starve its civilian population of essential goods. Conditions are much worse than they were a year ago, and they will continue to deteriorate if there are not immediate and drastic changes in allowing in commercial imports of food and medicine. For tens of thousands of Yemenis, it is already too late, but there are still millions who may still be preserved from senseless, preventable deaths from starvation and disease.

The coalition bombing campaign has wrecked infrastructure, deliberately and systematically targeted [2] sources of food production and distribution, repeatedly struck inhabited areas with blatant disregard for civilian life, and frequently hit medical facilities that struggle to cope with the spread of preventable diseases made worse by the effects of the coalition blockade. More than eight million are on the verge of famine, and over twenty million require some humanitarian assistance. Yemen’s humanitarian crisis has been the worst in the world for years, but there has been no commensurate international response to meet the needs of over twenty million people. This has been going on in plain view of the rest of the world for almost three years, but the governments in a position to do the most about it are the ones most responsible for causing it, and that includes ours.

In addition to being caught up in an atrocious war, the civilian population of Yemen has had the misfortune of being kept mostly invisible to much of the world and their plight mostly ignored by the powerful states responsible for creating it. Occasionally, the governments responsible for creating the disaster have thrown a few crumbs to the people they starve and then hire publicists to boast about their generosity. The Saudis have done this recently with a public relations blitz [3] to make it seem as if they are helping Yemen’s people instead of slowly and purposefully killing them. No amount of spin can change the reality that the coalition refuses to do the things necessary to alleviate the massive suffering of millions of Yemenis:

But the plan rejects calls by the UN to lift an on-off blockade of Hodeidah port, a vital lifeline for civilians in the rebel-held north: it proposes reducing the overall flow of cargo into the city and stepping up imports into coalition-controlled areas.

The Saudis and their allies aren’t interested in allowing essential food and medicine to reach the people that most need it. Indeed, the goal of their blockade all along has been to inflict as much economic pain as possible on the parts of the country their forces don’t occupy. That hasn’t changed, and until it does Yemen’s humanitarian catastrophe will needlessly claim many more lives. Throughout all of this, the U.S. and other Western governments have provided unstinting support for the coalition war effort. Even now, our government continues to aid them in their wrecking and starvation of Yemen. If Yemen’s humanitarian crisis becomes the worst in half a century, it will be because the coalition governments and their Western patrons made it so.

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6 Comments (Open | Close)

6 Comments To "U.N. Official: Yemen’s Humanitarian Crisis Could Be the Worst in 50 Years"

#1 Comment By Eon Zoskales On February 9, 2018 @ 9:41 am

Doctor Larison continues to be the best English language author covering the atrocities in Yemen. He’s absolutely correct to note that the suffering of the Yemeni’s is practically invisible, and ignored by the great powers who have enabled this savagery. Fortunately, those of us who read Doctor Larison from many corners of the ideological spectrum are not blind to these atrocities. Thank you for keeping us informed, Doctor Larison; at a time when few remember Christ’s exhortations in Matthew 25:40, you have lived up to what He demanded of us.

#2 Comment By Stephen J. On February 9, 2018 @ 11:09 am

Daniel Larson is a voice of integrity, in a world ruled by war criminals. The happenings in Yemen are a hellish disgrace.
Read more at link below.
September 9, 2017
“The Genocide in Yemen by a Coalition of War Criminals”

[4]

#3 Comment By tltdd On February 11, 2018 @ 8:53 pm

Thank you so much for the comprehensive information and insight you provide. I have been reading all of your coverage and find it invaluable.

#4 Comment By who are we kidding? On February 11, 2018 @ 10:16 pm

… we’re the chief enabler of the worst humanitarian crisis in 50 years, yet we have the nerve to lecture Turkey about civilian casualties as it fights Kurd terrorism on its own borders.

We’re not serious. We’re a joke. We waste our resources on stupid wars, we’re morally incoherent, we blow things up at random, and after sixteen years we remain almost criminally ignorant of the places we are destroying.

Serious? No. Dangerous? Yes. And others must navigate us with prudence and care, as one does a very large, belligerent drunk. But serious? No.

#5 Comment By b. On February 12, 2018 @ 1:36 pm

The Saudis are merely claiming for themselves within their “sphere of influence” the same prerogative of collective punishment that the US, and its proxies like Israel, are exercising. This is who we are, this is who we ally with.

It should be noticed that the best way for the Saudis to secure continued US support is to outsource the logistics of the carefully channeled “help” – and the profits to be made of it – to the US military, who in turn can organize profitable convoys in another public-private “partnership”, with commercial contractors “partnershipping” with US Navy escorts to Saudi-approved ports of destitution.

Meanwhile, The People can get a preview of how their own emergencies are going to be monetized by looking at Puerto Rico. If anybody is deluded enough to think that votes or guns are going to make a difference as the process of profit extraction grinds to the marrow, they will learn that they ignored the precedence in the “far” and “near” abroad at their own peril.

#6 Comment By Emma On February 26, 2018 @ 2:58 am

This is so f*cking depressing. What can we do?