Chaos Envelops Yemen As Humanitarian Catastrophe Looms Large

A massive humanitarian crisis may be imminent in Yemen in the aftermath of a conflict that has triggered a state of fear across the war-ridden country. Deteriorating living conditions exacerbated by a succession of indiscriminate air strikes have paralyzed many parts of Yemen, mainly those falling under the influence of Houthi Rebels.

UNICEF had reported earlier that nearly 21 million people including approximately nine million children were in dire need of humanitarian assistance, with millions internally displaced and thousands more attempting to seek refuge in bordering countries. An overwhelming 15 million people are reported to have found themselves without access to basic health care, food, shelter, and safe drinking water. Doctors Without Borders, a humanitarian aid organization, has warned that the situation in the country is staggeringly grim and symptomatic of a devastation of calamitous proportions, almost certain to ensue if opportune measures to provide adequate protection and medical assistance to civilians are not intensified.

The ongoing conflict has dealt a crippling blow to an already decrepit economy and a severely compromised civilian infrastructure, where emergency medical assistance is very nearly inaccessible mostly owing to ill-equipped, dysfunctional hospitals. Meanwhile, power cuts with restricted access to phone and internet networks in several areas constitute a recurring phenomenon.

The conflict started off in September of last year when a band of disenchanted Houthi rebels took control of the capital city of Sanaa, subsequently prompting a barrage of Saudi-led air strikes in March pummeling their strongholds. This was at the behest of the country’s Saudi-favored President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who, after having fled to the host country from Aden on March 25, had progressively pushed for foreign intervention. The conflict has since claimed more than 1,700 lives, according to UN estimates, in addition to compounding the trauma and agony of a battered civilian population struggling to cope with the massive devastation being wreaked upon their cities on a frighteningly frequent basis. As of now, an estimated 80 percent of the country’s population may be perilously affected by the scourge of this armed conflict.

With nearly six million people in Yemen presently at risk of starvation and half the population without proper access to food, the UN and other aid agencies have projected disastrous developments for the country over the next few months, given an ambiance exceedingly conducive to conflict and mayhem with a potential to precipitate a major humanitarian catastrophe, elements of which as of now have only begun to unfold.

[Images Credit: Brent Stirton /Getty Images]

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