The Washington Post reports on the extreme water shortages now affecting Yemen after almost four months of the Saudi-led, U.S.-backed intervention:
This poor Arabian Peninsula country has faced a severe scarcity of water for decades. But four months of fighting have dramatically worsened the situation, with attacks destroying water pipes, storage tanks and pumping facilities in a number of cities.
The number of Yemenis who lack access to drinking water has almost doubled since the war began, according to the United Nations and aid agencies. Now, they say, more than 20 million people — about 80 percent of Yemen’s population — struggle to find enough water to quench their thirst and bathe.
Yemen has been running short on basic necessities for months, but conditions are growing even more severe the longer that the war continues. As the report notes, the shortage has also been helping diseases to spread by forcing many Yemenis to use whatever water sources they can find:
Many people have no choice but to use unsanitary water for drinking, cooking and bathing. Wildcat drillers are boring wells and extracting untreated groundwater that they sell to consumers, health experts say. Residents are storing water for drinking and cooking in uncovered containers that become breeding grounds for mosquitoes that transmit malaria and dengue fever, according to the United Nations and aid agencies. In recent weeks, those organizations have identified at least 8,000 suspected cases of those diseases, far higher than the usual number.
So in addition to the looming danger of famine on account of the lack of basic food supplies for the civilian population, Yemen is at risk of suffering from major epidemics. The water shortage has been made much worse by the lack of fuel needed to run generators and pumps to gain access to water. All of these shortages have been created in large part by the Saudi-led intervention and their blockade, and they have been made worse at the local level by the fighting on the ground between the Houthis and their enemies. The U.S. continues to support the Saudis’ indefensible campaign, and that campaign continues to fail to achieve very much except to inflict extraordinary suffering on the civilian population of Yemen.
The report goes on:
The United Nations says that 120,000 children could die if the lack of access to clean water, sufficient food and adequate health care persists.
These are the horrific consequences of ill-conceived and reckless military intervention. It is long past time for the U.S. to end its participation in this appalling war and to start calling for the end of the blockade.