Yemen Is Being Starved to Death
The AP reports on the horrible and worsening conditions in Yemen:
They are among countless Yemenis who are struggling to feed themselves amid a grinding civil war that has pushed the Arab world’s poorest nation to the brink of famine. The family lives in a mud hut in northern Yemen, territory controlled by Shiite Houthi rebels, who are at war with government forces and a Saudi-led and U.S.-backed coalition.
The coalition has been waging a fierce air campaign against the rebels since March 2015, trying unsuccessfully to dislodge them from the capital, Sanaa, and much of the country’s north. A coalition blockade aimed at preventing the Houthis from rearming has contributed to a 60-percent spike in food prices, according to an estimate used by international aid groups.
The coalition’s responsibility for creating these conditions is even greater than the article states. In addition to a punishing blockade that has been in place for almost two years, the coalition has bombed major ports, roads, and bridges that are all critical to bringing in food and other aid. The “legitimate” Yemeni government led by Hadi announced that the central bank was being moved to Aden last fall. That had the effect of rupturing one of the last national institutions left, and it made it much harder for importers to arrange financing to bring in necessities. Shortly before the end of the year, major trading companies halted wheat imports into Yemen as a result of Hadi’s central bank decision, which made the already dire situation in the country even worse. The Hadi government and its coalition and Western backers have inflicted all of this on the civilian population of Yemen for more than twenty-one months in the service of an atrocious war effort that has failed in all of its stated objectives.
Yemen is suffering one of the worst man-made disasters of this century. The humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen threatens millions of people with death from starvation and preventable disease, and yet the U.S. continues to support and enable the coalition war effort that bears a huge share of the blame for creating famine conditions in one of the world’s poorest countries. Unless something is done immediately to lift the blockade and bring in food to stave it off, Yemen’s famine will only grow more severe.