Yemen faces a crisis within a crisis



This image depicts a destroyed factory in Yemen. Yemen is facing a large humanitarian crisis right now.

Nabiha Zulfqar, Copy Editor

Right now Yemen is facing the largest humanitarian crisis in the world with almost 80% of the population in need of assistance, including 12 million children. Since Yemen was already struggling prior to COVID-19, with that addition, the crisis became a lot worse. Sanitation and clean water are in short supply, only half of health facilities are functioning and health workers are receiving no salaries.

“Even before COVID-19, children were still suffering and it breaks my heart,” junior Ayham Elayan said.

Yemenis are already in a health crisis suffering from malnutrition, respiratory infections, malaria, dengue fever and cholera outbreaks. According to Action Against Hunger’s deputy program manager in Yemen, Dr. Samar Kentzel, Yemenis are at higher risk of illness because they have weak immune systems, making it harder to fight diseases. 

Many people aren’t getting treatment because they don’t have the financial means and there just aren’t enough beds in hospitals.

“America could help financially but it’s really up to the leaders,” junior Yukta Ramanan said.

In Yemen, many people allegedly got infected and died from COVID-19 before any official announcement from the Ministry of Health. Some citizens didn’t believe the virus was real even after doctors issued warnings. It was only taken seriously once the Ministry of Health put out an announcement in early April. Yemen’s already devastated health system is now under huge strain because of this pandemic. 

The roots of this conflict started with a failed political transition that was supposed to bring stability to Yemen following an Arab Spring uprising that forced its longtime authoritarian president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to hand over power to his deputy, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, in 2011. With this conflict, political activists in America and the surrounding countries of Yemen can’t do a lot since this is in Yemen’s leader’s hands. 

“Buying food and supplies for displaced families and providing antibiotics is some of the things that charities give to children in Yemen and if you can, you should donate,” Ramanan said. 

A few charities helping Yemen include Doctors Without Borders, Islamic Relief, Unicef and the World Food Program.