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Yemen’s Humanitarian Catastrophe Keeps Getting Worse

The latest report on Yemen from the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) details the horrifying conditions there:

An estimated 80 per cent of the population – 24 million people – require some form of humanitarian or protection assistance, including 14.3 million who are in acute need. Severity of needs is deepening, with the number of people in acute need a staggering 27 per cent higher than last year [bold mine-DL]. Two-thirds of all districts in the country are already pre-famine, and one-third face a convergence of multiple acute vulnerabilities.

As the report says, more than 20 million Yemenis are food insecure, and another 10 million suffer from “extreme levels of hunger.” Yemenis are dying daily from hunger and other preventable causes. A new outbreak of swine flu has already claimed scores of lives in the capital and threatens hundreds more:

Reuters reports on the case of Fatima Qoba, a severely malnourished 12-year old girl, who was displaced along with her family from their home in northern Yemen by Saudi coalition bombing:

After trying two other hospitals which could not help, a relative found the money to transport Qoba to the clinic in Houthi-controlled Aslam, one of Yemen’s poorest districts with high malnutrition levels.

Lying on green hospital sheets, Qoba’s skin is papery, her eyes huge and her skeletal frame encased in a loose orange dress. A health worker feeds her a pale mush from a bowl.

Fatima is one of millions of Yemeni children suffering from extreme malnutrition, and at least 85,000 Yemeni children under the age of 5 have perished from hunger. The escalation and prolongation of the war from outside intervention and the destructive economic policies of the Saudi coalition and the “legitimate” Yemeni government have created these appalling conditions. The lives of more than half the population remain at risk from starvation each day that the war is allowed to drag on.

This is what the war on Yemen has done to Fatima and the many millions of children who are being starved to death:

These are the horrors that U.S. support for the war on Yemen helps make possible. This is the humanitarian catastrophe that has continued to worsen as our government has enabled and covered for the Saudis and Emiratis for the last four years. Extricating the U.S. from the war is a necessary step towards ending the war on Yemen, but the only way to end Yemen’s enormous suffering is if opponents of the war keep working for a lasting peace.

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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