Yemen is the world's worst humanitarian crisis

History

Yemen – which means South Arabia in Arabic – is a country situated at the south-western corner of the Arabian Peninsula. It a very rural country with around three-quarters of the population residing in the countryside. Generally, the people inhabit nearly all five of the major regions of the country: the flat coastal plain along the Red Sea which extends from the north to the south of the country, the north-eastern desert regions, the mountains that rise in the central and western area, the eastern highlands, the fertile plains in the south and the world’s largest sand desert – Rub Al Khali.

For centuries Yemen was the centre of civilisation and wealth in which various tribes ruled and lived in happiness. They were blessed with the abundance of sustenance such as fruits and plants, etc. The land later benefited from ancient and modern trade routes in which it controlled the supply of commodities such as textiles, myrrh, spices, coffee, and honey. In Yemen’s eastern region in particular caravan towns developed into settlements – the most famous example of which is at Shibam, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which remains preserved just as it existed 600 years ago.

Current Situation

Yemen is currently the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and the ongoing conflict shows no signs of slowing down. With an overall population of 28 million:

  • Over 14 million struggling for clean drinking water
  • Over 15 million lack access to basic health
  • 13,000 have been killed in the conflict
  • 5000 children have been killed (average of 5 children every day since March 2015)

Challenges

The population in Yemen face many challenges every day of their lives.

Poverty: Poverty is the state of being extremely poor and having inferior quality or insufficient amount. The main reason for poverty in Yemen is a lack of basic resources such as water, healthcare and education. It is the poorest country in the middle east and one of the poorest in the world. According to the UN, Yemen ranks 168th out of 177 countries on the human development index (HDI), a measure of life expectancy, education and standard of living.

Water: It has been acknowledged by the UN that it’s a basic human right to have access to clean water and sanitation. Water is essential for life to survive and when living in suitable conditions, its hard to image a life without these basic necessities. However, this is the life of a Yemeni. Currently, over half of the population are struggling to find clean drinking water. That’s over 14 million people who have to live with damaged water systems throughout their country.

Healthcare: The healthcare in Yemen is on the brink of collapse. Only 45% of health facilities are functioning and over half the population lack access to basic health care. Illnesses that are fairly straightforward to treat in more developed countries are becoming disasters and outbreaks. The cholera outbreak was the worst in history, with over 1 million cases reported in 2017 alone.

Education:  Education is a key that unlocks countless opportunities. Yemen was once recognised as the centre of learning and knowledge however, today children go to school lacking the basic school essentials such as: books, pens, notebooks and bags.

Conflict:  Yemen was already one of the poorest countries in the world before the conflict tore through the country’s infrastructure. Since 2015, when the war broke out, the situation has got worse day by day. Well over 1000 days of war has left 13,000 people dead, over 1 million people infected with cholera and 7 million at the risk of acute malnutrition.