Famine in Yemen

posted by: Joan Vine | on: Wednesday, 30 August 2017, 22:21

Hunger in Yemen

Hunger in Yemen

The famine in Yemen is now threatening over 17 million people; a great proportion suffering from malnutrition. The famine is being compounded by a massive outbreak of Cholera.

Background: The famine is the direct result of Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen. Yemen was already the most impoverished nation in and the Middle East. The Republic of Yemen is an Arab country in Western Asia at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is the second-largest country in the peninsula with a coastline that stretches for about 2,000km. Yemen was the home of the biblical 'Sheba', a trading state that flourished for over a thousand years. and also included parts of modern-day Ethiopia and Eritrea. Christianity arrived in the fourth century, whereas Judaism and local Paganism were already established. Islam spread quickly in the seventh century and Yemenite troops were crucial in the expansion of the early Islamic conquests. Various dynasties then ruled Yemen for hundreds of years. In the early twentieth century, the country was divided by the British and Ottoman empires.

Recent History: Yemen became an independent state in 1990, after gaining its sovereignty from The United Kingdom. The population of Yemen is 24,771,809 (2012).The May-July 1994 civil war in Yemen was a conflict waged between the two Yemeni forces of the pro-union northern and the socialist separatist southern Yemeni states and their supporters. The war resulted in the defeat of the southern armed forces, the reunification of Yemen. This war blocked food imports, leading to a famine that is affecting 17 million civilians. The lack of safe drinking water, caused by the destruction of the country's water infrastructure, has also caused the world's worst outbreak of cholera with the number of suspected cases exceeding 200,000. Yemen, one of the Arab world's poorest countries, has been devastated by a war between forces loyal to the internationally-recognised government of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and those allied to the Houthi rebel movement.

More than 7,600 people have been killed and 42,000 injured since March 2015, the majority in air strikes by a Saudi-led multinational coalition that backs the president against the Houthi Islamic rebels... The conflict and a blockade imposed by the coalition have also triggered a humanitarian disaster, leaving 70% of the population in need of aid.

How did this war start? The conflict has its roots in the failure of the political transition that was supposed to bring stability to Yemen following an uprising that forced its long time authoritarian president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to hand over power to Mr Hadi, his deputy, in November 2011. Mr Hadi struggled to deal with a variety of problems, including attacks by al-Qaeda, a separatist movement in the south, the continuing loyalty of many military officers to Mr Saleh, as well as corruption, unemployment and food insecurity. The Houthi movement, which champions Yemen's Zaidi Shia Muslim minority and fought a series of rebellions against Mr Saleh during the previous decade, took advantage of the new president's weakness by taking control of their northern heartland of Saada province and neighbouring areas.

Disillusioned with the transition, many ordinary Yemenis - including Sunnis - supported the Houthis and in September 2014 they entered the capital, Sanaa, setting up street camps and roadblocks. In January 2015, the Houthis reinforced their takeover of Sanaa, surrounding the presidential palace and other key points and effectively placing Mr Hadi and his cabinet ministers under house arrest. The president escaped to the southern port city of Aden the following month Saudi-led multinational coalition intervened in the conflict in Yemen in March 2015. The Houthis and security forces loyal to Mr Saleh then attempted to take control of the entire country, forcing Mr Hadi to flee abroad in March 2015. Alarmed by the rise of a group they believed to be backed militarily by regional Shia power Iran, Saudi Arabia and eight other mostly Sunni Arab states began an air campaign aimed at restoring Mr Hadi's government. The coalition received logistical and intelligence support from the US, UK and France.

What has happened since then? After two years of fighting, no side appears close to a military victory. But since then, despite the air campaign and naval blockade continuing unabated, pro-government forces have been unable to dislodge the rebels from their northern strongholds, including Sanaa and its surrounding province. The Houthis have also been able to maintain a siege of the southern city of Taiz and to continue firing missiles and mortars across the border with Saudi Arabia. Jihadist militants from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and rival affiliates of so-called Islamic State (IS) have meanwhile taken advantage of the chaos by seizing territory in the south and stepping up their attacks, notably in government-controlled Aden.

Impact on civilians: Civilians have borne the brunt of the fighting. Leading to one of the world's worst famines. Let us pray for those who are suffering in Yemen - By Arthur Tear

 Posted: 30 Aug 2017 | There are 0 comments

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