Yemen's Humanitarian Crisis

A culmination of the nation's numerous widespread calamities throughout the past decade, Yemen is currently facing the most detrimental humanitarian crisis that the world has ever witnessed. With over 24 million people (including 12 million children) in need of medical assistance, Yemen has become "a living hell" (UNICEF).

Among a variety of supplementary factors, the principal cause of Yemen's humanitarian crisis is the Yemeni Civil War: an ongoing conflict between the Houthi rebel movement and the Yemeni government. The conflict began after an Arab Spring uprising forced longtime authoritarian President Ali Abdullah Saleh to resign and relinquish power to his deputy (Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi) in 2011. However, as President, Hadi grappled with a plethora of deep-rooted matters such as corruption, food insecurity, unemployment, attacks by jihadists, a separatist movement in the South, and continued loyalty to his predecessor by security personnel. The Houthi movement championed the Zaidi Shia Muslim minority in Yemen to fight a series of rebellions against Saleh throughout the previous decade to infiltrate the weaknesses of the new President. Ultimately, they usurped control of the northern heartland of the Saada province and neighboring regions. Many ordinary Yemenis, including Sunni Muslims, began to support the Houthi movement due to disillusionment with the transition of executive power, allowing the rebels to take over the capital of Yemen, Sanaa, in late 2014. Their attempt to seize control of the entire nation forced President Hadi to flee abroad in March of 2015. Believed to be back militarily by Shia powers in Iran, the Houthi movement was met with an air campaign from nine other mostly Sunni Muslim nations including Saudi Arabia. While this was believed to end Iranian influence by restoring Hadi's government, the Yemeni Civil War is an ongoing issue that has killed over 100,000 people: 85,000 of them due to famine. Yemen is being used by surrounding nations as a playground for a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia with utter disregard to Yemeni lives and the severity of the Yemen Humanitarian Crisis. While the conflict is widely regarded as a means to combat Iranian influence in the Middle East, tens of millions of people are on the brink of starvation. The Saudi-Arabian led coalition has also received logistical and military support from the US, UK, and France, allowing them to readily disperse airstrikes in Yemen. Such airstrikes leave Yemenis without shelter, food, water, or proper healthcare.

The effects of COVID-19 have also amplified medical demand and placed tremendous pressure on a healthcare system that has been shattered for years. 
Many prior years of war have left healthcare officials with insufficient means to handle the pandemic. Of Yemen's 3,500 medical facilities, only half are thought to be fully functioning. Clinics are overcrowded and basic materials are lacking; only 500 ventilators and 700 ICU beds are available to supposedly treat Yemen's population of around 28 million. Medics themselves are also extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 without access to necessities such as masks and gowns. The global pandemic has left Yemen grappling with an emergency within an emergency.

Three years ago, the UN declared Yemen the most needy place on Earth. On top of the Yemeni Civil War and COVID-19 pandemic, outbreaks such as cholera, caused by a Saudi fuel blockade that prevented water and sanitation systems from fully functioning in many towns, have resulted in over 2.2 million suspected cases. Millions are without adequate sanitation. With a lack of maternal and children's healthcare, such issues have disproportionately affected women and girls, whose lives have become a vicious yet normalized cycle of abuse, violence, and exploitation. Every 10 minutes, a Yemeni child dies due to malnutrition or disease. 

My name is Ayla Seddighnezhad. I am a rising junior at Menlo School in Atherton, California. While the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen is among the most striking and pertinent world catastrophes at the moment, I find that it is too often overlooked or dismissed. For anyone who believes in this cause but does not know how to tangibly make an impact, I urge you to donate. All of the proceeds of this fundraiser will be directly donated to multiple organizations such as UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders, and Islamic Relief USA. I can assure you that any donation, no matter the size, will make an impact on the people of Yemen. Please join me in helping fight this Yemen's Humanitarian Crisis—our united effort can promote change.

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Organizer

Ayla Seddighnezhad 
Organizer
San Carlos, CA
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