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War in Yemen: Climbing Causality Count

The number of people who have died in Yemen due to the civil war will reach over 350,000 by the end of 2021.

Source: The Atlantic. A man carries an injured girl rescued from the site of a Saudi-led air strike in Sanaa, Yemen. She was the sole survivor in the air attack.

Background on War:

The Yemeni Civil War is an ongoing 7 year conflict that began in 2014. The opposing forces are the internationally recognized Yemeni government, which is backed by a Saudi-led military coalition, and Houthi rebels, who are supported by Iran. The conflict is rooted in failures within the country’s political processes that resulted in deep rifts within the government.

The division started when an uprising in 2011 resulted in the former long time authoritarian president, Ali Abdullah Saleh to relinquish his power to Adrabbuh Mansour Hadi. However, Hadi was revealed to be a weak leader when he was unsuccessful in resolving pertinent issues of corruption, unemployment, and food insecurity in Yemen. The Houthi movement took advantage of this weakness, taking control of major capitals in Yemen, specifically Sanaa.

Iran is the Houthis’ primary international support and has provided the rebels with military funds in the form of weapons and artillery. The government of Yemen is backed by a group of Sunni-majority states led by Saudi Arabia. The coalition is compromised of Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Sudan, and the UAE, and has launched multiple air attack campaigns against the Houthis. Both sides have engaged in brutal forms of military warfare which have caused many civilian deaths.

This constant fighting and destruction has caused a large scale humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Families across the nation are being torn apart because of the brutal and merciless bombings anf attacks. Over 3,000 children have died in Yemen and more than 5,000 have been injured. The Saudi-led coalition airstrikes are responsible for most of the civilian casualties. There are subsequent fears of a possible famine taking over the country as the poverty rate of Yemen rapidly increases. The rate currently is 75% which makes Yemen the world’s poorest Arab country. Statistically, two out of three Yemenis require humanitarian aid and over four million people are internally displaced.

Current Casualty Count

New data from the United Nations reports that the projected death toll from Yemen’s war will reach about 377,000 by the end of 2021. This total accounts for those killed directly and indirectly by the war.

Source: Hani Mohammed. The UNDP report predicts that the number of people affected by malnutrition will surge to 9.2 million in the year 2030.

The United Nations Development Program estimates that 70% of those killed will be children under the age of five. A majority of these deaths will be as a result of indirect causes, such as hunger and cholera, with the other percentage being a product of direct causes like front line combat and air raids. The war has been in a deadlock for years and tens of thousands of people being killed.

The war continues to be heading towards a downward spiral. A dangerous combination of factors, driven by conflict and economic decline and now exacerbated by the coronavirus, have compounded a dire situation in Yemen.

Hope for the Future of Yemen

If the war was to end now than the extreme poverty plaguing Yemen could disappear within a generation in Yemen. With the conflict reaching a resolution, the malnutrition affecting about 4.9 million people could be halved by 2025. Further data depicts that in order for Yemen to lift itself from the poverty it faces, focused initiatives on empowering the Yemeni people could significantly boost the GDP.

There are possibilities towards hope. With financial and economic backing from international stakeholders, the implementation of holistic recovery processes could drastically decrease poverty rates. Investment focused on agriculture, infrastructure, education, and democratic governance could have the highest return on development.

Yemen is experiencing one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, but with proper means of growth and support from the international community, Yemen could start progress towards recovery.

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