Yemen: A Toxic Wasteland of Death and Destruction Among Children
Yemen, a country in the southern portion of the Arabian Peninsula, harbors the world’s largest humanitarian crises. Inhabiting over 28.91 million people, this country proves to be impotent against the chaos unleashed from civil war. In fact, thousands of Yemeni citizens have either been killed or injured due to a rivalry among allies of the exiled President Hadi and the participants of the Houthi rebel movement that began on March 2015. In many ways, Yemen can be labeled as the perfect storm since the country is always in conflict.
The humanitarian crisis in Yemen is turbulent and toxic. Yemeni citizens encounter numerous plights in the form of brutal treatment from enemies, an unstable government, increase in poverty, displacement, malnourishment, food insecurity, import restrictions, diseases, and unsanitary living conditions. These obstacles rapidly contribute to increasing casualties and the demise of Yemen.
Prior to the war, poverty remained prevalent in Yemen among the issues of unemployment, a weak government, underdevelopment, and starvation unremedied by president Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. War had arisen due to an armed group called Houthis invading the capital Sana’a and controlling government institutions. Yemen’s vulnerability amplified due to Saudi Arabia’s military campaign to restore power and land from the Houthis. This, in turn, wreaked havoc due to the tensions between these two warring parties, thus initiating a civil war. The threat of hunger, disease, and economic burdens plague the civilians caught in this crossfire. Hence, these citizens are displaced from their homes without having the necessities to support themselves and their families as diseases unfurl.
In addition to this, according to the UN officials, all sides violated the international humanitarian law and the human rights law by recruiting children in hostilities, attacking and killing civilians, using bombs, etc. Thus, the death toll is prominent due to constant wars and mass killings of innocent individuals and children.
To elaborate further, the rate of food insecurity and malnourishment swiftly increase as millions of people continue to suffer. Many people find themselves unemployed and evicted. Yemen cannot obtain their food supplies due to poor conditions of roads and supermarkets along with a lack of fuel. The water is contaminated without the presence of fuel. With this new issue, the people of Yemen are confronted by an outbreak of diseases including cholera. The citizens simply lack proper health care to cure these deadly diseases. Thus, Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian assistance.
Children, in particular, are prime victims of malnutrition and disease. Parents must walk lengthy hours among battered roads to clinics in order to ensure treatment for their child. Transportation and proper care become almost impossible to acquire as they suffocate under the vice grip of financial burdens. As major diseases arise, such as the cholera epidemic, these health clinics exhaust in staff and supplies to properly treat these ailing children. This, in turn, results in patients being treated on the grimy floors of the reception area with six children sleeping in a single hospital bed.
Famine intensifies every day as a consequence of a month-long blockade issued by the Saudi and Emirati-led coalition. This contributes to the reduction of commercial imports of food to support only a fraction of Yemen’s population. Hence, starvation is the primary cause for the decimation of approximately 85,000 children engendered by battle-hungry adults. In fact, half of the children under the age of 5 are chronically malnourished due to anemia spurring amongst the majority of the pregnant or lactating women. In turn, this triggers the low birth weight and brain damage among their children. The vital organ functions slow down before halting completely, thus inflicting immense torment among children. Their weak immune systems lead to devastating infections that paralyze them. Furthermore, the rapid decline of vaccination instigates an outbreak of measles and diphtheria, thereby having a fatal impact on children. Parents are hindered powerless as they watch their children deteriorate from diseases.
Although there are appeals for a ceasefire in Yemen, it would inevitably take a long time for Yemen to restore itself as these issues persist and animosity still remains. Children are deprived of their youth and innocence as an outcome of war. They are born to perish quickly among the rubbles of war without being able to reap in the joys of childhood. Hence, these children are just “skin and bones” as a product of war. We must end this atrocious nightmare once and for all by terminating the war in Yemen and supporting the citizens by donating to ensure their well being to organizations such as Unicef and Save the Children. There is no better time to take action than now.