The ruins carpeted the city market, rippling outwards in waves of destruction. Broken beams, collapsed roofs, exploded metal shutters and fossilized merchandise crumbled underfoot.
In one of the burnt-out shells of the shops where raisins, nuts, fabrics, incense and stone pots were traded for hundreds of years, all that was to be found was a box of coke bottles, a sofa and a child nailing wooden sticks together.
This is Sa’ada, ground zero of the 20-month Saudi campaign in Yemen, a largely forgotten conflict that has killed more than 10,000, uprooted 3 million and left more than half the country short of food, many on the brink of starvation.
~ Gaith Abdul-Ahad in The Guardian, 12/9/16
Yemen stands as the worst-threatened of four countries where impending famine conditions have been said to comprise the single-worst humanitarian crisis since the founding of the U.N. On May 2nd, 2017, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs published a grim infographic detailing conditions in Yemen where 17 million Yemenis – or around 60 percent of the population – are unable to access food. The U.S. and its allies continue to bomb Yemen.
Jan Egeland, who heads the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), says that seven million Yemeni people are on the brink of famine. “I am shocked to my bones,” said Egeland, following a five day visit to Yemen. “The world is letting some 7 million men, women and children slowly but surely be engulfed…” Egeland blames this catastrophe on “men with guns and power in regional and international capitals who undermine every effort to avert an entirely preventable famine, as well as the collapse of health and educational services for millions of children.” Egeland and the NRC call on all parties to the conflict, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, the US and the U.K. to negotiate a cease fire.
This weekend, the situation stands poised to become dramatically worse with the apparently imminent bombing, by Saudi Arabia, one of the US’ closest allies, of the aid lifeline which is the port of Hodeida.
Egeland stresses the vital importance of keeping humanitarian aid flowing through Hodeida, a port which stands mere days or hours from destruction. “The Saudi-led, Western-backed military coalition has threatened to attack the port,” said Egeland, “which would likely destroy it and cut supplies to millions of hungry civilians.” US congress people demanding a stay on destruction of the port have as yet won no concessions from the Saudi or US governments.
To continue reading: In Yemen, Shocked to His Bones