Home/Daniel Larison/Yemen Faces Largest Famine in Decades Because of Saudi Blockade

Yemen Faces Largest Famine in Decades Because of Saudi Blockade

The U.N. warns that famine in Yemen will be the largest in decades if the Saudi-led coalition doesn’t lift its blockade of the country’s ports:

United Nations aid chief Mark Lowcock warned on Wednesday that if a Saudi-led military coalition did not allow humanitarian aid access to Yemen then it would cause “the largest famine the world has seen for many decades with millions of victims.”

The scale and severity of Yemen’s humanitarian crisis have made it the worst in the world for years, but the crisis has not generated the outrage or a commensurate international response in all that time. Perhaps the huge numbers of potential victims of mass starvation will finally shock the world into paying attention to the effects of a war that has been mostly ignored. If not, there will be no excuse that the outside world didn’t know what was happening. Yemen’s plight has been impossible to miss for anyone willing to pay attention:

In Berlin, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel called for increased aid to Yemen, citing alarm at the latest U.N. report. ”No one will be able to say later, particularly with respect to Yemen, that they didn’t know what was happening.”

The coalition’s closure of all ports in a cruel and illegal act of collective punishment is already making that crisis much worse, and if it is not ended immediately it will kill a huge number of innocent Yemenis. Seven million have been on the brink of starvation up until now, and the coalition’s action threatens to cause the unnecessary, preventable deaths of many of them in the near future. Millions more are malnourished and will be put at greater risk of starvation as well. The deliberate starving of Yemen’s population should be considered a crime against humanity, and any government that has participated in or supported the war up to this point should be considered an accomplice in that crime.

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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