yemen map february 2017

Yemen: The Civil War and the role of Saudi Arabia has driven Yemen to the brink of famine

The conflict is the primary driver of a hunger crisis that the UN has warned could turn to famine this year if nothing is done.

Yemen has been divided by nearly two years of civil war that pits the Iran-allied Houthi group against a Western-backed Sunni Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia that is carrying out air strikes. At least 10,000 people have been killed in the fighting.

Two years since the conflict escalated in Yemen, more than 17 million Yemenis do not know if they will be able to put food on the table to feed their families, the Norwegian Refugee Council warned this week at the start of a donor conference for Yemen.

Angry at the civilian casualties incurred last month in the first commando raid authorized by President Trump, Yemen has withdrawn permission for the United States to run Special Operations ground missions against suspected terrorist groups in the country, according to American officials.

  • Last week, the UN launched a $2.1bn (£1.6bn) appeal to prevent famine in the Arab world’s poorest nation, where nearly 3.3 million people – including 2.1 million children – are acutely malnourished. The humanitarian appeal is the largest launched for Yemen and aims to provide life-saving assistance to 12 million people this year.

“Two years of war have devastated Yemen and millions of children, women and men desperately need our help. Without international support, they may face the threat of famine in the course of 2017 and I urge donors to sustain and increase their support to our collective response,” said Stephen O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, launching the Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen in Geneva. “Humanitarian partners are ready to respond. But they need timely, unimpeded access, and adequate resources, to meet the humanitarian needs wherever they arise.”

The 2017 Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan is tailored specifically to assist people facing acute needs in addition to people most at risk of slipping into acute-need status.

yemen war key facts and figures un

Since March 2015, violent conflict and disregard by all parties to the conflict for their responsibility to protect civilians have created a vast protection crisis in Yemen and millions of people face threats to their safety and basic human rights every day. Deliberate war tactics are accelerating the collapse of key institutions and the economy, thereby exacerbating pre-existing vulnerabilities. This has left an alarming 18.8 million people – more than two thirds of the population – in need of humanitarian assistance.

Nearly 3.3 million people – including 2.1 million children – are acutely malnourished, U.N. figures show. They include 460,000 children under age five with the worst form of malnutrition who risk dying of pneumonia or diarrhoeal disease.

About 55 percent of Yemen’s medical facilities do not function and the health ministry has no operational budget, said Jamie McGoldrick, U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Yemen.

Devastated economy

A de-facto blockade on imports, imposed by the Saudi-led coalition, has had a devastating impact on the Yemeni economy. Public sector health workers and teachers do not get their salaries. The private sector is collapsing in a country dependent on imports for 90 per cent of its food. The blockade, the violence and restrictions to humanitarian access on the ground, as well as the continued destruction of civilian infrastructure in violation of humanitarian law, is turning Yemen into a country where an entire population soon will be dependent on assistance.

yemen map february 2017
Source:@ Wiki, Green: Controlled by Revolutionary Committee, Red: Controlled by Hadi-led government and the Southern Movement, White: Controlled by Ansar al-Sharia/AQAP forces, Grey: Controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)

Sources: NYTimes,, Guardian UK, Reuters 

9 thoughts on “Yemen: The Civil War and the role of Saudi Arabia has driven Yemen to the brink of famine”

  1. The solution lies in UN Security Council Resolution 2216. Adherence to this resolution by all parties would assure a rapid resolution of the problem. Reviewing the history of the Houthi movement for those who only tuned in over the last couple of years, this is the seventh time the Houthi have tried to seize power in Yemen in the last couple of decades. Each time led to prolonged violence with ultimate Houthi defeat, and then peace agreements which were not kept by the Houthi. The only way this cycle of violence is going to be broken is with the termination of Houthi military power. That can be voluntary in compliance with the UN Security Council Resolution or enforced by their ultimate military defeat. Even then, Yemen faces serious problems with the plethora of tribal militia, some of which are only moderately less dangerous then the Houthi.

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