War-torn Yemen: report from a country at the edge of the abyss


devastating civil war has been raging in Yemen for years. According to the United Nations, it is the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world. About 80 percent of the population is dependent on humanitarian aid, and for millions of Yemites, famine, including many children, is threatening. For 400,000 children under the age of 5, the situation is lifethreatening.

Since March 2015, a coalition led by Saudi Arabia has been fighting Houthi rebels, a powerful tribe from the north. There were attacks again and again today. The UN suspect both parties of committing war crimes. Famine is used as a weapon of war, for example by bombing water installations and blocking ports so that food aid does not enter the country.

Because of these types of blockages, emergency aid enters the country, which makes it difficult for aid organizations to do their job. Moreover, it is often too dangerous for assistants to provide help safely and there are all kinds of logistical obstacles, such as permits from the warring parties. The situation is aggravated by outbreaks of cholera, typhoid fever and corona. Most of the hospitals in the country have been destroyed by bombing.

By high exception, the correspondent Daisy Mohr managed to enter Yemen together with cameraman Pablo Torres. There she saw how big the humanitarian disaster in the country is:

The war in Yemen has its origins in 2011, and in that year, as in other countries in the Middle East, major protests are breaking out against the government also known as the Arab Spring. President Ali Abdullah Saleh is forced to resign and transfers power to Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi

Yemen ends up in chaos. President Hadi struggles with various problems in the country, such as corruption, unemployment and terrorist group attacks. In addition, part of the army remained loyal to former President Saleh. The mighty Houthi movement from the north of Yemen is using this chaos to expand and is conquering more and more territory.

Wasps Nest

When the Houthis fully occupy the capital Sanaa in 2014, neighbouring Saudi Arabia intervenes and supports the government in Yemen. With a coalition of eight other Arab states, Saudi Arabia begins a military campaign against the Houthi rebels in 2015. In recent years, the United States, the United Kingdom and France have supplied weapons to Saudi Arabia. The Houthi rebels, in turn, are militarily supported by Iran.

In the south of Yemen, another third party is in the conflict, namely the Southern Movement. That is a partnership of tribes who strive for an independent South Yemen. They are supported by the United Arab Emirates. The movement is officially part of the Saudi coalition, but has been increasingly overwhelmed with the government of Yemen in recent years. This is especially visible in Aden, where the Southern Movement is largely in control.

Solution not in sight

Since the beginning of this year, there has been fierce fighting in the oil-rich province of Marib, one of the last government strongholds. Houthi rebels seem to have the upper hand there. The UN warns that millions of people are at risk of being displaced.

The Yemeni government may have most of the area in control, but this is mainly uninhabited desert without oil, gas or other natural sources:

Under the leadership of the UN, the warring parties have been trying to come to a ceasefire for years, but agreements are violated time and time again. The Houthi rebels demand that the blockades of port cities and the airport in the Sanaa controlled capital be lifted. But the coalition led by Saudi Arabia does not give in to that. With that, the end of the war seems not in sight for the time being.