Famine continues to ravage the Yemen population despite Saudi pledge to end the offensive. UN special envoy confirmed the urgent need of 5 million people for unconditioned assistance.
Despite a plethora of problems, ending Yemen’s protracted hunger remains a “overarching humanitarian priority.” There is still a high risk of silent massacre in the country.
According to the United Nations’ departing special envoy for Yemen, almost 70% of the people in the country are dependent on humanitarian assistance to meet their basic requirements for a living. That means that around 20 million people, mostly children and women, are in urgent need for food, drugs, and shelter.
“Roughly five million people are one step away from succumbing to famine and the diseases that go with it”, Martin Griffiths warned the UN Security Council. Another group of 10 million people are right behind the first group in terms of the emergency.
The severe devaluation of Yemeni currency and the country’s economic breakdown are the main roots of the country’s hunger. The GDP fell by 40% since Saudi Arabia, along with its allies, started the violent offensive against the country.
The country is also dealing with severe shortage of fuel in areas under the control of Houthi movement. The Saudi blockade impedes the transference of the fuel to the region further complicating the crisis.
Just three ships transporting oil resources have been recieved permission to dock at Hodeidah port. Another four ships remain in a holding area under the control of the Saudi-led alliance.
The port has been a vital corridor for humanitarian assistance into Yemen. Hodeidah, nevertheless, has been mostly closed for years after the Saudi Arabian campaign against the country began. The western countries, mainly the United States, were a party to the realization of a disaster almost unprecedented in modern history.
Famine Devours Yemen
As Mr. Griffiths emphasized, the problem goes far beyond food shortage. “Famine isn’t just a food problem. It’s a symptom of a much deeper collapse. In many ways, it is all of Yemen’s problems rolled into one, and it demands a comprehensive response,” he stressed.
Only one Petroleum facility in Houthi territories continues to work. All others are out of service due to shortages. As a result, people must wait at least one full month to replace stove gas canisters.
“We reiterate our call on the government of Yemen to urgently allow the entry of all essential commercial supplies, including fuel ships to Hodeidah without delay,” Middle East assistant of UN secretary-general explained.
Griffith also described such proposals as “profiteering” and called for an end for these approaches. He urged for the introduction of a permanent truce to allow frustrated citizens to breathe and provide the material requirements to confront the roots of crisis.
Yemeni people’s rise against the rulers, during the Arab spring, instigated bloodshed and turmoil across the country. The crisis escalated in 2015, when Saudi Arabia, supported by regional and western allies started a military assault against the country. The popular Houthi movement’s control over a major part of the country, ousting Riyadh-supported Mansour Hadi, provoked the assaults.
UN estimates says that the conflict sparked a massive humanitarian catastrophe leading to the death of at least 233,000 people. The Saudi offensive also left millions on the edge of famine.
Despite Biden administration’s emphasis on the termination of operation against Yemen, Saudi policies continue to deepen the crisis. Famine in Yemen is far beyond description or perception.