The entirely man-made crisis is Yemen has caused horrific suffering. The United Nations has called it the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, with more than 20 million people — 70% of the population — requiring immediate assistance. And the situation could become even worse: half of the country’s population — more than 14 million people — are hungry and children are dying from malnutrition.
While donating to the organizations providing humanitarian aid is crucial, political action is key to ending the Saudi-led bombardments and blockades that have prevented food and aid from reaching civilians. Call your Congressperson with a click here (script included!).
Recent coverage from this article by in the New York Times underscores the severity of the situation.
Repeated bombings have crippled bridges, hospitals and factories. Many doctors and civil servants have gone unpaid for more than a year. Malnutrition and poor sanitation have made the Middle Eastern country vulnerable to diseases that most of the world has confined to the history books.
In just three months, cholera has killed nearly 2,000 people and infected more than a half million, one of the world’s largest outbreaks in the past 50 years.
Subsequently, the UN has launched a $2.3bn appeal this year, its largest ever for the country. The following organizations are in Yemen providing relief.
UNICEF focuses its relief efforts on mothers and children. It estimates that 11 million children are in need of humanitarian aid. Their interventions include bringing clean water, sanitation, and hygiene products to the hardest-hit areas to prevent the spread of cholera. With Yemen’s public services in free fall, including schools, UNICEF also provides child-friendly spaces to children who need psychological support — among so many other services to people in distress.
Doctors Without Borders (or MSF as it is also known) has been doing extensive work in Yemen since the war began in March 2015, operating hospitals and clinics and providing medical supplies to various state-run facilities. They’ve treated more than 75,000 people for cholera or its symptoms through its treatment centers in 2017. In 2016, they saw 435,500 patients through 1,317 staff, despite the bombings of four clinics they ran or supported — and in which 26 of their colleagues were killed.
Despite access and security challenges, Action Against Hunger has been present in Yemen since 2012, treating malnourished children and improving families’ access to food. Their 170-person team is currently providing humanitarian assistance in Abyan, Hajjah, Hodeidah and Lahij. In 2016, their teams reached a total of 222, 159 people across Yemen.
Oxfam has worked in Yemen for more than 30 years. Since 2015, the organization has been delivering essential aid in the north and south of the country, reaching more than one million people across the frontlines, since July 2015. That aid has come in the form of cash payments to help families to buy food, and trucking clean drinking water and repairing water systems and latrines in hard-to-reach areas. Their direct appeal link here.
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image credit UN