In an editorial, the New York Times says: Yemen has now been added to the United Nations’ list of most severe humanitarian emergencies, along with South Sudan, Syria and Iraq. It is a tragic distinction, highlighting the peril to 80 percent of the country’s 25 million citizens. The international community, including the United States, is not doing enough to push for an immediate cease-fire in the war that is ravaging the country to make it possible to deliver aid.
Yemen, a poor country, was deeply unstable even before a coalition, led by Saudi Arabia and backed by the United States, started bombing the Houthi rebel movement in late March. Last week, Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general, declared the situation a “catastrophe.”
The coalition is seeking to reinstate the government of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who is now in exile in Riyadh. Mr. Hadi was ousted by the Houthis, an indigenous Shiite group allied with Iran. Most Yemenis are Sunnis, and Saudi Arabia, a leading Sunni country, has feared that a Houthi takeover would extend the influence of Iran, its regional rival.
The statistics are staggering. Over the past three months, the conflict has forced over a million Yemenis to flee their homes, and 21 million are in need of immediate help. Close to 13 million people are hungry and nearly half the provinces are “one step away” from famine, the United Nations said. Some 15 million people have no health care, and outbreaks of dengue fever and malaria are raging unchecked, in part because a fuel shortage has cut the electricity that keeps water pumps functioning. [Continue reading…]