Dire Straits Of Yemen


While dealing with a history of wars and diseases, the Covid-19 pandemic is threatening to make Yemen a country “without a functioning health system”.

Crux of the Matter

The Civil War

  • 2011: Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi replaces Ali Abdullah Saleh as President after anti-government protests
  • 2014: Houthi Shia Muslim rebel group seizes Saada province, making Hadi flee to Saudi Arabia
  • 2015: Saudi Arabia and other chiefly Sunni states backed by US, UK and France attack Yemen, now under Houthi rule
  • 2017: Saleh gets killed by Houthi group
  • 2018: The Saudi coalition attacks the Hudaydah port, affecting essential supplies of 2/3rd of the population
  • Saudi Arabia claims Iran is backing Houthi due to Shia affinity, which Iran denies

Civilian Impact
Between 2015-18, 85,000 children died by malnutrition in Yemen. Health organizations have declared that 80% of the population is in urgent need of medical care. The war alone has caused 100,000 deaths till date.

The war has also rendered the healthcare system of the country ineffective. In 2016, even ‘Medecins Sans Frontieres’ or Doctors Without Borders withdrew from the hospital due to attacks on medical workers and hospitals.

Cholera Concern
Cholera outbreak started in Yemen in October 2016, which was aggravated by damage to hospitals and water facilities caused by the civil war. Over 1.2 million cases were reported by 2018, and out of the total deaths recorded, 58% were children. Already impacted by the Covid-19, the country saw further adversity as 113,000 cases of Cholera were recorded in 2020.

Coronavirus Crisis
While only 705 Covid-19 cases have been reported in Yemen, experts have pointed an under-reporting done in the records as observed in the exponential increase in cremation. The situation has been aggravated by a complete lack of functioning medical system, as observed in the fact that the ratio of people to ventilators is 2.5 million to 1.

Further trouble awaits the country as the UN would withdraw 30 of its 41 schemes from it if the funding is not sufficient, which stands at 50% of the requisite.

The world will have to witness what happens in a country without a functioning health system battling COVID-19.

United Nations (UN) on Yemen
  • Yemen is one of the least developed countries in the world and in 2019 the United Nations reported that Yemen is the country with the most people in need of humanitarian aid, about 24 million people out of a total of 28.5 million, or 85% of its population.
  • The Persian Gulf is a mediterranean sea in Western Asia. The body of water is an extension of the Indian Ocean through the Strait of Hormuz and lies between Iran to the northeast and the Arabian Peninsula to the southwest. The body of water is historically and internationally known as the “Persian Gulf”. Some Arab governments refer to it as the “Arabian Gulf”.
  • Hayel Saeed An’am was a Yemeni businessman and the founder of HSA Group (Hayel Saeed Anam Group), a conglomerate that has a revenue turnover as large as $10 billion. He died on April 23, 1990 with an estimated net worth of $12 billion, of which 30% was pledged to the welfare foundation which he founded.