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COVID-19 exacerbates humanitarian crisis in Yemen

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Husain Mohamed – 24/06/2020

It was only a matter of time before the global coronavirus pandemic would reach Yemen and come in to contact with the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Now that it has, the impact is already showing.

A humanitarian aid worker says the demand for assistance is greater now than ever before, and without it, many vulnerable people, including single-women households, unaccompanied children, sexual violence survivors and others, will become at serious risk of eviction and a lack of access to food and basic needs.

After the many years of war in Yemen, the internationally recognized government, backed by a Saudi-led coalition have been pitted against the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels

As a result, The Middle East’s poorest nation has seen its economy destroyed. This has left millions unemployed and 80 percent of the country in need of humanitarian assistance. With the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic, the situation has been exacerbated.

Yemen’s internationally recognized government has confirmed more than 900 cases of COVID-19 and more than 250 deaths, while the Houthi rebels in the capital Sanaa have only reported four cases. However, the true number of confirmed cases is believed to be much higher.

UN officials have expressed fears that the death toll from the virus in Yemen could potentially exceed the combined death toll of war, disease, and hunger in Yemen over the last five years. A number that is estimated at more than 100,000 people.

Making matters worse, International bodies, including the World Food Programme, have accused the Houthis of stealing aid money. The Houthis have denied the accusations and criticized the role of international NGOs in Yemen. The situation leaves international NGOs in a difficult situation, at a time when Yemen needs help the most.

 

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