Yemen: world’s greatest humanitarian crisis?

July 2, 2020

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

Olivia Opara raises awareness through the perspective of young people with families from a country devastated by war

Amid a global pandemic, a surge in anti-racism and economic turmoil, Yemen has been forgotten, while its crisis has peaked.

What is the Yemen Crisis?

The crisis dates back to 2011, when a revolution against former president Ali Abdulla Saleh occurred. After relentless attempts to reunite the fragmented government, an insurgency arose, and the Yemeni parliament was dissolved.

In turn this sparked a civil war between prominent political rivals, the Houthis, with support from Iran, and the Hadi government.

Saudi Arabia, supported by the UK, USA and France, joined the war to hinder the Houthis; their mass bombing dramatically escalating the war. This war in Yemen has been ongoing since 2014, leaving the country and its people in a desperate and fragile state.

My friend, living in London, Noorah Mabger, 15, shares her families experience of the devastation that sweeps Yemen.

“As a Yemeni, who was born and raised in the UK, I am despairing and shocked by gut-wrenching news from my grandmother.

I haven’t seen her for many years. She has been trapped in Yemen due to the on-going conflict, making her surroundings a perilous war zone.

Innocent people shouldn’t have to suffer at the hands of power-hungry leaders and be imprisoned by an out-dated, corrupt political system

My grandmother, a widow who is forced to live alone, is unable to come to the UK because she would be deemed a terrorist; due to her attire, appearance and religious beliefs, and is not allowed beyond the borders of Yemen or Saudi Arabia. Yemen’s sea, air and land ports are obstructed by the military coalition of Saudi Arabia.

How is it fair for people to be separated from their families, stripped of their human rights, to endure suffering and wait out the endless onslaught of this war?

While my grandma was out, a grenade was thrown in her apartment, and she came back to find windows shattered, and a hole where her bedroom used to be.

Innocent people like her shouldn’t have to suffer at the hands of power-hungry leaders and be imprisoned by an out-dated, corrupt political system.

Why should innocent people live in constant fear of the next threat, and whether or not they’ll have electricity when they wake up?”

It has now been six years since the beginning of the war, and its toll on the country and its communities has worsened.

Yemen has a population of 24 million and according to UNICEF, half of the population are children; children who are severely malnourished due to the ongoing famine and disease; children who are sick; children who are suffering.

They have been caught in the crossfire of this conflict resulting in many being killed or severely injured.

Children are unable to live their lives to the full, instead most live in pain and agony every second of every day

Schools and hospitals alike have been closed due to the pandemic, preventing many people from receiving medical treatment, with around seven million children without any education.

Sara Kader, a teenager from London, also shares her thoughts and feelings on the crisis:

“As a Yemeni myself, I feel helpless and heartbroken that my home country is in the midst of such a catastrophic crisis. I have heard from my family, back in Yemen, about the excruciating effects of disease, hunger and destruction on the young especially.

Children are unable to live their lives to the full, instead most live in pain and agony every second of every day. They are dying very young, without ever knowing what it is to communicate physically or verbally.

People are not only suffering from malaria and cholera; a deadlier foe than these diseases or the war, is Covid-19. It’s spreading rapidly amidst the continuing conflict.”

Yemen desperately needs your help. Please sign petitions and email your local MP to raise this crisis in parliament. Thank you.

Donate via PayPal

Exposure is an award-winning youth communications charity giving young people in north London a voice.

Please support us to continue our work. Thank you.