Yemen's humanitarian crisis becomes worse; death toll may cross 100,000

WION Web Team New Delhi, India Jul 03, 2020, 09.49 PM(IST) Edited By: Palki Sharma

Yemen humanitarian crisis Photograph:( Reuters )

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Over two million children suffer malnutrition and could be pushed to the brink of starvation. 

War, hunger and pandemic -- Yemen is facing the world's worst humanitarian crisis. It is the most needy place on earth right now. Yemen is completely devasted by conflict.

Millions have no access to food, healthcare, clean water or sanitation. It's a festering pool of coronavirus infections.

In a country ravaged by war, the true scale of the pandemic is beyond comprehension. The United Nations (UN) says the death toll could surpass 100,000. That is more than the combined death toll of war, disease, and hunger in Yemen over the last five years.

Also watch: Millions of Yemeni children face threat of starvation

The COVID-19 mortality rate is five times the global average. One out of five people infected by the virus is dying. Five years of war has decimated the healthcare system. Nearly half of Yemen's 3,500 medical facilities have been damaged or destroyed in air strikes. Clinics are overcrowded without basic medicines and equipment.

In a country of 27.5 million people, only 500 ventilators and 700 intensive care units are available. Even before the pandemic, Yemen faced a health crisis with mounting cases of dengue, malaria and cholera. Now, it has become worse.

Also watch: Saudi-led coalition starts military operation against Yemen's Houthis

The UN is not able to do much due to lack of funds. It has warned that most of its relief programs will be suspended in the coming weeks.

"More than 30 of the 41 UN-supported programmes in Yemen will close in the coming weeks if additional funds are not secured. Now, more than ever, the country needs the outside world's help, and it's not really getting it."

In early June, the UN raised the alarm and received 1.3 billion dollars in aid to help Yemen, which is just half of what it got last year.

For Yemen, which entirely depends on aid to survive, this is detrimental as 80 per cent of the population relies on handouts.

Over two million children suffer malnutrition and could be pushed to the brink of starvation. 

The war has turned Yemen into middle-east's poorest nation. Northern Yemen is held by Saudi Arabia-backed government and southern Yemen is ruled by the Houthi militants with the help of Iran.

The civil war has left millions unemployed. Now, 80 per cent of the country is in need of humanitarian assistance but the two warring sides are blocking vital food and medical aid.

Yemen is a failed state without a central government in charge.