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20 July, 2017

The politics of the forgotten humanitarian crises in Yemen and Gaza

Millions of Yemenis are starving as Saudi Arabia continues to bomb the country, while the people of Gaza lack electricity and medical supplies due to a 10-year Israeli blockade. Both conflicts and the crises they have unleashed are tied to the U.S.’ arms industry’s unending pursuit of profit.

by Whitney Webb

Part 2 - Famine and disease devastating Yemen

Since 2015, Yemen has been in and out of the news following the beginning of a Saudi-led war against the popular Houthi political movement, which wrested power from former Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, who had been installed by the U.S. and the Saudis.

While many in the media suggest that the Houthis are allied with Iran and that the conflict is, therefore, a proxy war, Iran’s minimal involvement and the Saudi’s repeated targeting of civilian infrastructure and public gatherings suggest that this is a war against the Yemeni people, one quickly approaching genocide. More than 10,000 civilians have died in the conflict so far and 3 million have been displaced.

The crisis in Yemen, which the International Rescue Committee has called the “largest humanitarian crisis of our time,” is not due only to Saudi-led military action against the embattled country. The Saudis and their coalition have blockaded Yemeni ports, preventing the entry of much-needed food, medicine, fuel and humanitarian aid.

As a result, 7 million Yemenis are facing starvation, many of them children. In addition, a lack of infrastructure, fuel and medicine has made it difficult to purify water, leading to a massive cholera outbreak that is now present in all regions of Yemen. The World Health Organization estimates that the disease is spreading at an astonishing rate of 5,000 new cases a day.

UN aid chief Stephen O’Brien told the UN Security Council this past Tuesday that “This cholera scandal is entirely man-made by the conflicting parties and those beyond Yemen’s borders who are leading, supplying, fighting and perpetuating the fear and the fighting.

Last May, more than 20 top international NGOs and aid organizations jointly called on the United States to recognize and help to end the crisis in Yemen. However, their calls for aid have done little to change the actual situation in the country.

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