In the midst of a global pandemic, civil unrest, and economic downfall, Yemen is experiencing the largest humanitarian crisis in the world. Yemenis are currently suffering a civil war, extreme poverty, malnutrition, cholera, COVID-19 and it seems like no one is talking about it. Even before the start of the crisis in 2011, malnutrition rates were one of the world’s worst as well as access to water. To add on to that, rates of abuse towards women and children have increased since the beginning of the crisis. According to the Human Rights Watch, women in Yemen are facing severe discrimination in law and practice as the opposing parties in war have only made the discrimination and violence worse. The parties have been accusing women on promiscuity, prostitution and have been using derogatory terms as part of war threats and harassment against the opponents. This not only increases the risk of domestic violence, it also limits their rights to participate in every day life as well as economic and political fields.
If this wasn’t enough of a devastating situation, COVID-19 is making it extremely worse. The UN believes that the deaths from the virus could and probably will exceed the fatalities from the war. This virus was the worst-case scenario for Yemen as millions of Yemenis are already displaced from their homes, most of the population is already suffering from malnutrition with the risk of cholera due to the lack of clean water and the access to hospitals is extremely limited. Since testing and the right protective equipment is hard to access as well as very limited, it is hard for us to get an accurate picture of how many people actually have the virus and to see how much it has spread. The U.N. has estimated that over $2.4 billion is needed to aid COVID-19 in Yemen but is struggling to raise that amount of money. According to UNICEF, more than 24 million people which is equivalent to around 80 percent of the population needs humanitarian assistance which includes more than 12 million children. Children are getting the worse of this crisis. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 2 million children were already out of school but now 7.8 million children are unable to access education. With the underlying problem of malnutrition, children can develop various life-threatening diseases with both malnutrition and COVID-19.
With everything that is going on, you may be wondering, why is no other country helping Yemen?
Hopefully now you are asking yourself what you can do to help. Well, this is such a catastrophic crisis that is not getting the media coverage that is needed to spread awareness especially in the United States as well as many other countries.
Sources: Unicef, Human Rights Watch, International Rescue Committee, Project Hope