The War in Yemen has been raging on since 2015 and continues to devastate the country and its people. The number of casualties continues to increase, displacing many families and creating food and water shortages. This humanitarian disaster has been largely overlooked by the international community, with little political or financial intervention taking place to bring about a lasting peace. This essay will explore the conflict, its background, and the current situation in modern Yemen in an attempt to uncover potential solutions to end this devastating war.
The Yemeni Civil War has caused severe disruption in the lives of children and youth in Yemen; the disproportionally high effects of the war have been detrimental to their health and wellbeing (International Rescue Committee, 2018). Yemeni children and their families have been especially vulnerable to the ramifications of the conflict, causing masses of internally displaced people (Dalakas et. al, 2019). Studies from the International Rescue Committee (2018) have highlighted the prevalence of war-caused psychological trauma and stress, physical harm, forced displacement, interrupted education, and child labor among many of the Yemeni children, presenting a grim reality for the future of their lives.
The Yemeni Civil War has had devastating effects on the entire population, but none as severe as for Yemeni children. According to the United Nations, nearly 80% of all refugees displaced in Yemen due to the conflict are children (“Yemeni Children: Innocent Victims of War”). These displaced children are subjected to stress, health issues, and a lack of nutrition, and the limited resources available to the Yemeni children lead to countless cases of malnutrition and preventable diseases (Feinstein). Even in camps, they suffer from an inability to access essential services and education, are subject to psychological and physical abuse, and experience disruptions in family formation (Feinstein). Moreover, the air and naval blockade enforced by the Saudi-led coalition has delayed and blocked humanitarian aid to many parts of the country where vulnerable children in need of medical attention remain. As if these circumstances were not grim enough, the conflict has led to thousands of children being recruited by armed forces (“Yemeni Children”). The Yemeni children must continue to endure a society ravished by war, with countless human rights violations.
Internally displaced Yemeni children face an especially difficult plight due to the civil war that has been ravaging Yemen since 2015. According to Doctors Without Borders, “Yemen today is enduring an unprecedented humanitarian crisis… Around 11.3 million children are in need of humanitarian assistance.” Yemeni children are not only at risk of losing access to essential services such as healthcare and education, but they face an increase in gender-based violence, exploitation, and abuse (“Yemen: A Forgotten Crisis?”). Without food, shelter, and protection, the future of these Yemeni children is looking increasingly bleak, as they are forced to endure the consequences of a conflict they had no part in creating (“Yemen: A Forgotten Crisis?”).
The Yemen war is a devastating ongoing conflict, rooted in regional and sectarian divisions as well as international power struggles. Pre-existing internal tensions between the Houthis and the government of Yemen were exacerbated by foreign involvement of the Saudi-led coalition, resulting in an unwarranted and tragic humanitarian disaster (Whitson and Bellamy 3). According to some estimates, as many as 233,000 people have been killed in Yemen over the last five years (Hackman 5). In addition to its immense human cost, the war has caused the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, leaving nearly 22.2 million people in need of assistance (“Yemen Situation”). It is evident that the governments of those involved have prioritized their own interest over the citizens of Yemen in this ongoing dispute, making it all the more unnecessary and unjust.
The Yemen War has been a conflict with devastating consequences for all involved parties. The violence has resulted in loss of life, destruction of livelihoods, and displacement of millions of civilians from their homes. Furthermore, the destruction of the country’s infrastructure has resulted in a deep humanitarian crisis, particularly with regard to the lack of access to food and medical supplies. For these reasons, it is essential that the international community engage in dialogue and chart a path out of this crisis, so that stability and lasting peace can be achieved in the region.
“Yemeni Children: Innocent Victims of War – Building Unity to Make Education a Right for All.” Global Campaign for Education, 26 Apr. 2019, globalcampaignforeducation.org/yemeni-children-innocent-victims-of-war/.
Feinstein, Elan. “A Decade of War Has Left Yemeni Children Hungry and Deprived of an Education.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 20 Apr. 2021, www.nytimes.com/2021/04/20/world/middleeast/yemen-children-war.html.