The Crisis in Yemen

By Cassie Kim

Yemen has faced challenge after challenge, including war, starvation, and outbreaks of disease, forcing them into a devastating humanitarian crisis. The disaster began when the power transfer from Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen’s authoritarian president, to Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi failed in 2011. The Houthis, a rebel group that is largely speculated to be backed by Iran, took advantage of the instability in the government to gain support and power. Saudi Arabia began a series of airstrikes to remove the Houthis from power. The armed conflict, which the Saudi government estimated to last for a few weeks at most, lasted for more than four years. There are debates around whether the conflict is a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, or if it is a grab for power, but the impacts on the Yemeni are undeniable. Citizens have lost their lives as a direct result of the military conflicts; according to the UN, at least 7,700 civilians have died in airstrikes before March 2020. The indirect impacts of the conflict have been devastating as well,  with almost 80 percent of the Yemen population, about 24 million, in dire need of humanitarian assistance. More than 3.65 million Yemeni have been displaced from their homes and moved into camps. Save the Children, a non-profit charity providing life saving aid to Yemeni children, has estimated that 85,000 children died of malnutrition from April 2015 to October 2018. The lack of food and clean water has had a detrimental effect on the Yemen citizens, but the war has also heavily affected the availability of healthcare. Less than half of the country’s hospitals are open and more than 20 million people do not have access to basic healthcare. As a result of this, Yemen is in the midst of the largest Cholera outbreak recorded in history, with 3,895 related deaths since October 2016. The lack of healthcare has become a growing concern with the rapid spread of Coronavirus. The UN has estimated deaths related to the pandemic could “exceed the combined toll of war, disease, and hunger over the last five years.” Unfortunately, floods have recently swept through Yemen as well, causing at least 33,000 people who have been displaced to camps to lose their remaining belongings according to the International Committee of the Red Cross. These floods  worsened the spread of diseases and also introduced disease-carrying mosquitoes. The overwhelming number of crippling disasters facing Yemen calls for compassion through assistance from the rest of the world. Yemen is in dire need of help: the list below from the New York Times has some organizations that you can donate to: 


Doctors Without Borders: 

Save the Children: 

The International Rescue Committee: 

Baitulmaal AHED: 

Islamic Relief USA: 

the Zakat Foundation of America: