A new report from UN humanitarian officials is warning that the humanitarian situation in Yemen is getting even worse, saying it is no longer correct to say that “crisis is coming,” but time to recognize that the crisis in Yemen has already arrived, with mounting starvation, war casualties, and an outbreak of cholera.
Yemen was already the Middle East’s poorest nation in 2014, when Saudi Arabia attacked the country, intending to reinstall their former president. Mostly desert Yemen imports over 90% of its food from abroad, which made the Saudi naval blockade of their coast particularly devastating.
The war has been far longer than the Saudis expected, and heavy airstrikes have killed thousands of civilians. UN special envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould-Cheikh Ahmed was particularly quick to fault the main combatant factions for their unwillingness to enter into peace talks.
“Yemenis are paying a price for their needless delay,” Ahmed noted. The Shi’ite Houthis have backed talks in the past, but the Saudi-backed factions have rejected proposals for a compromise out of hand, and so far the Saudis have not pushed the matter publicly, simply allowing the war to rage on with no end in sight.