The Civil War in Yemen: An Explainer

For many years, Yemen has been the poorest country in the Arab region and suffered from many armed conflicts. But for the last two and a half years, Yemen has been in the midst of a devastating civil war. In 2014, Houthi rebels from the north overthrew the government with the help of certain sections of the Yemeni army. Other countries joined the fight in 2015 as Saudi Arabia assembled a coalition of Arab countries and the United States. The coalition began fighting the Houthi rebels to restore the former government. The two sides are still fighting, without a decisive victory for either side.

The damage to the country and its people has been severe. Bridges, hospitals and factories have been destroyed. The Saudi coalition has closed the Sana international airport, which has made it difficult for supplies to enter and for people in need of medical assistance to leave. Doctors and civil servants are no longer receiving pay. And in addition to the civilian casualties from the fighting itself, 500,000 people have been infected between June and August 2017, resulting in 2,000 deaths.

Cholera is a bacterial infection spread by water contaminated by feces. The sewage systems have failed, so when heavy rains came in April, many drinking wells were contaminated with waste. The disease is treatable with antibiotics, but many malnourished children in Yemen are left more vulnerable and are dying as a result.

The United Nations has labeled the situation in Yemen the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and requested $2.3 billion to help deal with it. 10 million people are in need of assistance, but only $964 million has been mobilized so far. The UN has also attempted to broker peace talks, all of which have so far failed. As of now, the Houthis are still in control of the capital city Sana. Fighting and the spread of disease continue as well.

Source: The New York Times

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