RIMBO, Sweden – December 10th marked the fourth day of peace negotiations in Sweden between the warring Houthi rebels and the representatives of the government of Yemen. Meanwhile, the United Nations has described the conditions within Yemen as “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.”
If we have learned nothing else over the past two millennia, it should be that war never has any winners. Even more, innocent civilians always lose.
While negotiating teams are meeting in a castle-turned-resort, dining on the finest cuisine, 14 million people are on the verge of eradication by starvation, disease, and the cumulative ravages of war.
While negotiating teams wonder “What’s for lunch,” Yemeni mothers try to remember the last time their children had any food.
The country director in Yemen for the Norwegian Refugee Council said, “If the consultations fail or stall, so too will hope of halting Yemen’s steady descent into hell.”
He added, “We will be forced to watch . . . as a population is suffocated by violence, hunger, and grief.”
The four-year war was instigated by the Iranian-backed Houthi rebel group in an attempt to gain control of access to the Red Sea, effectively giving Iran control over shipments in and out of the area, including oil, military ordnance, and food. The continuing battle over the port city of Hodeida has rendered an adequate influx of humanitarian aid impossible.
The Thomson Reuters Foundation listed a heart-wrenching summary of the current impact of the ongoing conflict.
- An estimated 2.3 million people, including one million children, are internally displaced in Yemen.
- Half of Yemen’s population, an estimated 14 million people, are on the brink of famine.
- 8 million children are severely short of food and 400,000 are suffering from life-threatening malnutrition.
- Three-quarters of Yemenis, about 22 million people, need emergency aid, including eight out of 10 children.
- The war has killed about 57,000 Yemenis, including more than 2,500 children.
- One Yemeni child dies every 10 minutes due to malnutrition and vaccine-preventable diseases.
- Yemen needs billions of dollars to finance its 2019 budget and prevent a currency collapse, in addition to $4 billion in aid.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate is moving toward a debate and vote to withdraw military aid to Saudi Arabia. At least some of that aid is helping the Saudis to keep Yemen from falling entirely in rebel – and thus, Iranian – hands.
The United Nations has expressed a lack of confidence that the talks in Sweden will bring an end to the Yemeni conflict.
And every 10 minutes another Yemeni child dies.
For more background on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen read these previous articles on Missions Box.
- April 9, 2017 – Yemen facing the ravages of war and malnourishment
- July 28, 2017 – Yemen Cholera Outbreak
- September 15, 2018 – Humanitarian Aid Being Hindered in Yemen: Millions of People at Risk
- October 25, 2018 – Facing Famine Crisis in Yemen
To read more news on Humanitarian Crisis on Missions Box, go here.
- Sight Magazine, Yemen’s “descent into hell” in numbers
- The Hill, What’s at stake in Yemen affects us all
- CBS News, Yemen war keeps aid from millions, but U.S. “Mercy” reaches a few
- Washington Examiner, Senate heading for historic vote to pull US military aid to Saudi Arabia
- Dr. Lyle Conrad [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons