Yemen, in despair
By: Sneha Subramanian
The beautiful country of Yemen is situated on the south end of the Arabian Peninsula in the Middle East. With a total population of 30.5 million, it has been declared as the poorest country in the Middle East. The country has been a home to prolonged wars since 2015 and this has taken a huge toll on the economy of the nation and devastated the nation’s public.
People have lost their will to live, and the children have been affected terribly. The wars, food shortage, water crisis, lack of education will be the highlights of their childhood memories.
Many people find themselves with no option other than to step out of their homes and walk long distances to collect basic necessities like water at the source nearest to them. It is difficult to even imagine going through cumbersome times like what Yemen is facing today.
“We are not an advanced species — not when millions of our sisters and brothers still go hungry — not when countless of our siblings still don’t have a roof over their head — not when many still spend every second of their life in fear of being bombed to death. And to change this, we need sacrifice — the sacrifice of Brave hearts — sacrifice of young lions and bold tigresses — the sacrifice of boiling blood.”
As beautifully said by Abhijit Naskar, people of all nations need to familiarize themselves with the hardships the citizens of Yemen are facing today and do what is in our power to help our fellow human friends.
What’s going on in Yemen?
Since 2015, a serious humanitarian crisis has descended upon the country majorly due to the ongoing conflict between the government and non-governmental powers.
These clashes have damaged a whole lot of the country’s infrastructure and even hit major facilities like hospitals and schools. Many people have lost their homes and have been denied access to any or all basic supplies. Around 80% of the nation’s people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, particularly food, water, medicine and shelter.
The vicious wars in Yemen go back to many years before former North and South Yemen reunited. In 1990 , the countries joined forces to create the country that we currently know as Yemen. However, their reconciliation did not silence the wars and disputes prevalent in and between the countries.
While these brutal outbursts have been erupting now and then through the years, undoubtedly the most important derivative of the conflict is the escalating relocation of Yemeni people and one of the world’s most pressing food, water, and medicine crises.
Children of the nation have been affected horribly. Many have lost their homes in the ongoing disruption of these wars. Around 2 million children are out of school. This, though might not be a pressing concern of most of the people, will profusely affect the education of the upcoming youth of the country.
Many big aid organizations like UNICEF have launched programs to help the children in Yemen. Some of them have helped to educate the children while some have volunteered in setting up oral vaccine camps to help build the children’s immunity against harmful diseases like cholera.
The families surrounding the area have also received money to access basic necessities like soaps, food, clothes, etc. The teachers who have volunteered to teach at the schools have also been given incentives to satisfy their daily requirements, for example, transportation to and from the school, money for buying the books required, etc.
These programs are very essential for the children as well as the future of the nation as it helps them try to live a normal, healthy, and happy life and grow up to be the backbone of the future Yemen. Although the programs can’t cover each and every child affected by these wars, the ones who are being supported and healed now, have shown immense improvement in psychological behavior.
Impact of COVID-19:
Since last December, the deadly virus COVID-19 has affected everyone disastrously. This virus has proven more deadly in countries or provinces where poverty prevails. The massive COVID-19 outbreak will be devastating for Yemenis who are already trying to get through the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
In many countries which are far better off than Yemen, the majority of the problems has been that there haven’t been enough space for ill people in hospitals but in case of Yemen which is already in the middle of a crisis, the condition is way worse, only a very few hospitals have the basic supplies to hold the patients. The number of confirmed cases due to the destroyed health infrastructure has been seriously underestimated.
As mentioned earlier, most of the hospitals or even infrastructures that could be used as a small clinic were completely destroyed during the wars. Thus the Yemenis don’t have proper places to be treated even if they are COVID-19 positive. Many people, who were tested positive, were given a complete home lock down if there wasn’t enough space at hospitals or if they just had mild COVID-19 symptoms. But the fact is that most Yemenis are currently forced to live under the roof with many others due to loss of their own homes and major infrastructural damage due to wars.
About half of the health centers in Yemen are now operational but are still having a hard time dealing with the large numbers of patients with other deadly diseases like malnutrition, cholera, dengue fever, and war casualties.
The Yemen citizens are still exposed to the virus even though steps are being taken to contain the spread. Approximately 80 percent of Yemenis rely on humanitarian aid, and there are many with compromised immune systems, and a lack of faith in the health system. A significant majority of the population does not pay heed to the messages of awareness conveyed via television, social media, and the Ministry of Health via messages.
Help organizations are taking precautions to slow down the transmission, adhering to restrictions on travel between provinces and shrinking the number of gatherings. So now it takes a lot longer to provide vital help to those who need it, and it is much more complicated in the wake of the pandemic.
Aid gaps of over $2 billion have put millions of people in the position of losing access to life-saving assistance. The reducing health facilities, such as mobile clinics and community water systems, greatly risk an increase in cholera and a rise in the COVID-19 outbreak.
What can we do?
“Humanitarian issues must bring together all people who act in good faith trying to alleviate the suffering of people in dire need especially women, children, and the elderly.” — Sergei Lavrov
It is needless to say that Yemen can use all the support it can get. It’s heartwarming to see how many countries and leading companies have lent a helping hand to Yemen for overcoming the crisis which has been going on for years now.
It is in times like this when all of us need to come together and try our best to raise our voice and lend a hand to end this suffering and help restore the people’s lost confidence in humanity.
Many philanthropists and donors have created a large number of groups for accepting donations for such causes. They collect any item ranging from food to clothes. Please donate or help the donation drives, to support the people stuck in this growing crisis, so that millions of children and citizens can have access to basic necessities which we couldn’t even dream of ever living without.