What's Happening to People in Yemen Right Now Is Horrendous

July 21st 2017

Thor Benson

A new report from Oxfam presents some harrowing news about the status of the citizens of Yemen, with children at the greatest risk. 

The humanitarian organization claimed that a cholera epidemic the country has been dealing with is officially "the largest ever in any country in a single year since records began." The epidemic began in April, and there were over 360,000 suspected cholera cases. Over 2,000 have died from cholera in the past few months.

Of the more than 300,000 cholera cases, more than half are children under the age of 15, according to UNICEF. 



"The most heartbreaking thing of all is cholera is such an easy disease to prevent and to treat," Scott Paul, senior humanitarian policy advisor at Oxfam, told ATTN:. "The problem is the conflict is being waged with almost no consideration for its effect on civilians."

According to the World Health Organization, cholera is "an acute diarrheal disease that can kill within hours if left untreated," and those who contract it can be treated "with oral rehydration solution."

Yemen has been going through a civil war since 2015, and it's a conflict between Houthi rebels and a coalition assembled by Saudi Arabia. The United States has been helping Saudi Arabia's military actions in Yemen by offering logistical support, selling the country weapons and more. President Donald Trump agreed to sell Saudi Arabia $110 billion worth of weapons in May.

Paul said the U.S. was involved in Yemen during the Obama administration, but former President Barack Obama started to pull away from it on his way out, including by stopping a weapons sale to Saudi Arabia. However, Trump has reportedly let the U.S. military become deeply involved.

Summer Nasser, chairperson of Yemen Aid, told ATTN: the situation in Yemen is pretty bleak.

"It's pretty horrendous, honestly," Nasser said. "For too many Yemenis, there is really no end to this conflict. They're really hopeless at this point."

yemen war

Nasser said many Yemeni people are upset with the United States because it has aided Saudi Arabia in this war and also banned Yemeni people who were trying to escape, referring to Trump's travel ban.

According to UNICEF, "[cholera] is particularly life-threatening for young children, especially those who are malnourished."

This is a significant detail, because as Paul explained, millions of Yemeni people are on the brink of famine. "It's the biggest food security emergency in the world on top of the public health emergency," he said. The World Food Programme reported that around 17 million people in Yemen are food insecure. But thanks to efforts from the United Nations, over $1 billion was collected to aid Yemen in April, but much more still needs to be done.

"Humanitarian assistance or aid, as the war continues, just doesn't help," Nasser said. "The war needs to end first."

Though humanitarian aid will only go so far while the war continues, those who want to help can donate to Oxfam or Yemen Aid.