By Valerie Nea
With millions of Yemenis caught between the effects of wars, the United Nations has strategized to alleviate the mass food and fuel shortages.
Though an assault on the port city of Hodeidah is necessary to importing 70% of the aid resources through the Red Sea, United Nations worry it could result in the death of 250,000 civilians.
So far, the United Nation has attempted to negotiate peace between the two warring coalitions, the Houthis, an Islamic religious movement, and the Yemeni government military. However, the Houthi rebels began questioning the other party for the obstruction of peace. They are hoping to reclaim the port of Hodeidah with as little casualties as possible. The United Arab Emirates believes taking the port will also open discussion with the Houthis for peace.
Yemen’s current civil war has left 5 million children at risk of famine.
“… In one hospital I visited in north Yemen, the babies were too weak to cry, their bodies exhausted by hunger. This could be any hospital in Yemen,” Save the Children International CEO Helle Thorning-Schmidt said.
As a result of the war, the Hodeidah region of Yemen is under Houthi control. This includes the Hodeidah port which is considered a vital lifeline for the goods needed to help the country’s population. With the port under Houthi management, aid groups are struggling to import food to help the citizens.
Tamer Kirolos, Save the Children country director for Yemen states, “What happens in Hodeidah has a direct impact on children and families right across Yemen. Even the smallest disruption to food, fuel and aid supplies through its vital port could mean death for hundreds of thousands of malnourished children unable to get the food they need to [survive].”
Many Yemenis are also unable to afford basic necessities since there is a 68% increase on food prices and delayed salaries. As a result of the famine, 1 in 3 children in Yemen suffer from severe malnutrition since their parents are unable to afford enough food.
“I could see her bones, I could not do anything for her. I had no money for transportation. I had to borrow some money to take Suha to the hospital far away from our village,” the mother of Suha, an infant suffering from malnutrition stated. “Most of the time we eat two meals a day. In the morning we eat bread with tea and for lunch it’s potatoes and tomatoes. Usually, I don’t eat. I keep it for my children.”
Since the war, prices for fuels such as gasoline has also impacted the population with a 25% cost increase.
Kirolos explains that driving up the prices of gasoline has affected transport– “to such an extent that families can’t even afford to take their sick children to [a] hospital.”