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Yemen: A humanitarian crisis with thousands dead

The conflict between the Houthis and the Saudi-backed government in Yemen has recently entered its fifth year, aggravating the suffering of Yemenis and deepening the world's worst humanitarian crisis. Here's taking a look at the onset of the Yemen crisis.

World's worst humanitarian crisis

The conflict in Yemen, described by the United Nations as the world's worst humanitarian crisis, originated with the political transition that occurred in the country following the uprising of the Arab Spring.


Transition in power 

The transition from the longtime authoritarian president, Ali Abdullah Saleh to his deputy Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi in 2011 was expected to bring stability to Yemen.

The new government under Hadi, however, struggled to deal with several problems.

Besides corruption, unemployment and food security, Hadi faced difficulty in handling the security personnel who continued to exhibit loyalty to Saleh. Hadi's government also faced attacks from the jihadists.





Houthi movement

Taking advantage of the weak Hadi government, Yemen's Zaidi Shia Muslim minority who had fought series of rebellions against Saleh during the previous decade, took control of their northern heartland of Saada province and neighbouring areas. 

Yemen's Zaidi Shia Muslim minority's Houthi movement was also supported by many ordinary Yemenis - including Sunnis.

The Houthis and security forces loyal to Saleh then attempted to take control of the entire country, forcing Hadi to flee the country in March 2015.


Crisis escalated in 2015 after the intervention of foreign powers

The crisis in Yemen escalated in 2015 after the intervention of the Shia power Iran, Saudi Arabia and eight other mostly Sunni Arab states.

The rebels in the country, backed by Iran, fought against the Saudi-led military coalition which supported the government.

The war has since then left about 10,000 dead, the World Health Organisation states. The United Nations has also defined the conflict in Yemen as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.


Ten thousands killed, over sixty thousands wounded

Around 10,000 people -- mostly civilians -- have been killed and more than 60,000 wounded since the Saudi-led coalition joined the conflict, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The country has also been ravaged by cholera, which has killed more than 2,500 people since April 2017. Around 1.2 million suspected cases have also been reported.


'Hell on earth' for children

The UN children's fund (UNICEF) has regularly pointed to the devastating effects of the conflict on children.

'It is a living hell for every boy and girl in Yemen,' it said in November 2018.

It said 1.8 million aged less than five are suffering from acute malnutrition.

Save the Children said that between April 2015 and October 2018 some 85,000 children may have died of severe malnutrition or related diseases. Others have been killed by combat.


'War crimes'

In March 2018, rights group Amnesty International accused Western countries of supplying arms to Riyadh and its allies, who could stand guilty of war crimes in Yemen.

Last August a UN expert mission concluded that all warring parties had potentially committed "war crimes".