Background of the Forgotten Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen

Yemen is part of the Arabian Peninsula and, due to violence, poverty and malnutrition, harbors one of the worst humanitarian crises worldwide. In March 2017, the armed conflict entered its third year. Already, it has claimed thousands of deaths and displaced millions of refugees. According to the UN, nearly 19 million people require humanitarian aid, and the call for donations in 2016 remained underfinanced by about half. Millions of people are threatened by hunger, while preventable diseases are putting especially children, the chronically ill, old and handicapped, as well as pregnant and nursing women at risk of dying from starvation and sickness.

In September 2014, Houthi rebels, an ethnic group of Zaidi Shia and loyal to the previous president Ali Abdullah Saleh (in power 1990-2012), overtook the government with the help of Iran. Then-president Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi (in power 2012-2014) and his government fled to Saudi Arabia. In March 2015, a struggle for control over the government ensued. Since then, a coalition led by Saudi Arabia (supported by the USA and Great Britain) has been attacking areas controlled by the Houthi with air strikes and landmines, in an effort to bring Hadi back to power. The ongoing war has had severe effects on the entire country, and civilians continuously find themselves in the lines of fire between both parties. There have been 325 confirmed, random attacks on schools, health facilities, markets, streets and other public civilian sites. The situation is further aggravated by the presence of ISIS and Al Qaeda. After 20 months, the conflict has already claimed 44,000 victims and displaced 3 million refugees.