Yemen Doctors: Hundreds Will Die Within a Week to Saudi Blockade

Key Medicines Have Run Out in Yemeni Capital

Saudi Arabia’s naval blockade of Yemen, in place since the 2015 invasion, has often nominally allowed humanitarian shipments. In the past month, however, the blockade has tightened dramatically, and even vital medications and food are virtually impossible to import.

So while the Yemenis have been kept in a state just short of mass starvation, catastrophic death tolls have been held off, at least until now. Now, doctors in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa say that a lot of key medicines are just plain gone.

One doctor was very frank about the likelihood that he “could end up losing all of my cancer patients,” since cancer medications have run out. Even people who just have entirely treatable conditions like diabetes are likely to die within the next week, since insulin is no longer available.

The consensus is that many hundreds of Yemenis will be dead within the next week simply from a lack of access to medication. There’s no sign that the Saudis have any intention to do anything about this.

And it’s the tip of the iceberg. Aid groups are warning that Yemen is down to about six weeks of food aid left, and the long-threatened famine may be about to arrive. They caution that as many as seven million are at risk of starvation without more food aid after that six weeks of food is exhausted.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.