HomeLifestylesSociety & FolkOpinion: Fighting for Yemen's Future Is A Global Duty

Opinion: Fighting for Yemen’s Future Is A Global Duty

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Opinion by Ferran Puig

Yemen’s people are confronting a humanitarian disaster of epic proportions as the country approaches its ninth year of war. As Oxfam’s Yemen Country Director, I have seen firsthand the effects of the humanitarian disaster, which has been exacerbated by economic collapse and dramatic increases in the cost of food and other basic commodities.

Almost 17 million people, 75% of them are women and children, are facing severe food insecurity. The worldwide food crisis has exacerbated the situation, putting millions more at risk of starvation.

The time for global action has arrived.

The present conflict stems from the 2011 Arab Spring, when large protests overthrew long-serving President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, his successor, struggled to solve a variety of difficulties, including corruption, unemployment, and food shortages. The Houthi rebel organisation took control of vast portions of the country, including the capital, Sana’a, in 2014.

In March 2015, a Saudi-led coalition of Arab governments, supported by the US and other Western countries, commenced military operations against the Houthis in an attempt to restore Hadi’s government. The ensuing conflict has resulted in widespread devastation, civilian casualties, and a humanitarian crisis on a scale never seen before.

Many violations of international humanitarian law have also occurred during the war, including indiscriminate attacks on civilian infrastructure, the use of juvenile combatants, and the imposition of limits that impede assistance delivery.

The battle in Yemen erupted eight years ago this past Sunday, March 26. The country is in a perilous situation after a temporary UN-brokered truce expired in October. While the cease-fire has largely maintained, Yemen’s political and economic future remains uncertain.

In 2021, the UN projected that 337,000 people had died as a result of the fighting and related difficulties like as a lack of access to food, water, and healthcare. Millions of people have been displaced, and over 21.6 million people—more than two-thirds of the population—require humanitarian help and protection.

Notwithstanding the severity of the problem, international donors have only provided around a third of the required funding in recent years.

International assistance in humanitarian catastrophes cannot be overstated. Such assistance saves lives by assisting affected communities in meeting their fundamental necessities, rebuilding their lives, and restoring hope for the future. International aid can be the difference between life and death in times of disaster.

Yemeni 8-year-old displaced girl child, Samar Ali Ahmed, weighing nine and a half kilograms suffering from acute malnutrition, is pictured in Hajjah Governorate, in northern Yemen, on September 23, 2020. – The girl, who lives with her family in Abs camp, was unable to go to hospital for treatment due to poverty. (Image by: ESSA AHMED / AFP via Getty Images)

Furthermore, by addressing core causes like as poverty, inequality, and social unrest, it can help avoid the spread of conflict and instability. As global citizens, we have a moral obligation to help those in need and promote global peace and stability.

I have witnessed directly the Yemeni people’s fatigue and desperation. Soaring food prices and unpaid pay have put even basic consumables out of reach for many Yemeni families.

We cannot allow donors to abandon one of the world’s most serious humanitarian problems. It is also past time for world leaders to apply meaningful pressure to bring all parties back to the table in order to bring the conflict to a permanent end. They must also ensure that the voices of the most marginalised people, particularly women, are heard and included.

Yemen’s cost of living crisis is exacerbated by the worldwide food crisis. The country imports 90% of its food, with Ukraine supplying 42% of its wheat. Importers warn that rising worldwide prices may make it difficult to secure wheat shipments into Yemen, perhaps driving millions to hunger.

The impact on homes is significant, leading families to resort to negative coping techniques in order to survive, such as consuming lower-quality meals, limiting portion sizes, going into debt to buy food, and borrowing from friends and neighbours.

As a result, 2.2 million Yemeni children under the age of five are currently suffering from acute malnutrition.

International response has been inadequate. Despite the increased demand, the World Food Program has been obliged to cut back on its supplies. A high-level pledge event earlier this year, co-hosted by the UN and the governments of Sweden and Switzerland, resulted in a combined commitment of less than one-third of the amount required for 2023 ($1.2 billion of the $4.3 billion required).

Oxfam works in Yemen to offer basic services such as clean water, sanitation, cash, and the installation of solar energy systems at the household and community levels. But more needs to be done.

I urge the international community to provide appropriate funds for life-saving aid, a rescue economic package to stabilise the economy and put money back in people’s pockets, and renewed efforts to negotiate a long-term comprehensive peace in Yemen.

Yemen’s position is terrible, and the international community must no longer remain silent. As we mark the eight-year anniversary of the conflict, we must remember the millions of Yemenis who continue to suffer.

It is time for world leaders to band together and take action to end the conflict and provide the resources needed for Yemenis to restore their lives.

Info source – IPSNews

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