Recently UNICEF released a news report detailing the desperate situation for children in Yemen. The Yemen conflict exploded this year with a Saudi-led and Western backed campaign in Yemen to remove the Houthi Movement, which is a social and political movement in Yemen popular with the young Shia population. They have taken over the government on several occasions and forced the former president to flee. As the Saudi-coalition wages war with the Houthis in the northern part of Yemen al-Qaeda and the Islamic State have made rapid advances in the southern part of the country.
Map from Business Insider
Over the course of the last six month the small poor country has been torn to pieces as the humanitarian situation deteriorates rapidly. Western media outlets have largely turned a blind eye to the civil war, probably because Western countries are selling weapons to the Saudi-coalition and providing support in general for the operation.
Now as it stands the most vulnerable part of Yemen, children, are on the verge of a mass famine from the lack of food, medical supplies and water. From the UNICEF report:
- The number of children under 5 at risk of severe acute malnutrition has tripled in 2015, with 537,000 children now at risk, compared to 160,000 children before the conflict.
- Almost twice as many children under 5, a total of 1.2 million children, are projected to suffer from moderate acute malnutrition this year, compared to 690,000 before the crisis.
These harrowing statistics should put the entire world on edge. During the next few years we could actually see the mass death of hundreds of thousands of children due to America and the West’s support for the war Gulf countries are waging in Yemen. This may seem outrageous but similar events have taken place before.
During the 1990s the United States and its allies imposed a brutal sanctions campaign on Iraq which included periodic bombing campaigns. The strict economic isolation of Iraq especially on what it could import and the ban on selling oil led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children throughout the 1990s.
Graph from Global Policy Forum
This dire humanitarian situation needs to be brought to mass attention so Americans and Westerners can evaluate their roles in contributing to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children. There are also refugee implications on a world that is already at its limit. But hey maybe Gulf countries will take one or two.
BBC’s Gabriel Gatehouse did a good job of trying to bring this subject into the public sphere a weeks ago with this documentary from BBC’s Newsnight program