crisis in yemen
March 2, 2021

In war-torn Yemen, humanitarian agencies believe that 400,000 children under five are at risk of dying from malnutrition.

In Shabwa province, the number of serious cases of malnutrition increased 10 percent in 2020, and in the town of Abs, serious cases rose 41 percent, The Guardian's Middle East correspondent Bethan McKernan reports. It is estimated that 16 million people, half of Yemen's entire population, are going hungry.

Civil war broke out in Yemen six years ago, with Houthi rebels fighting the Yemeni government. Now, it's also a proxy war between Iran, which backs the Houthis, and Saudi Arabia, which leads a coalition that supports the government. Tens of thousands of Yemenis have been killed or injured in the fighting, and with malnutrition, cholera, coronavirus, and dengue fever running rampant, the United Nations says Yemen is experiencing the world's worst humanitarian crisis. One doctor that McKernan spoke to said he fears Yemen is losing an entire generation to war, especially as boys as young as 11 are being recruited to fight and girls under 14 are being married off.

The UN is having a hard time raising enough money for 2021 humanitarian efforts, as several countries aren't donating as much as in years past. The United Kingdom, which supports the Saudi-led coalition, is cutting its aid in half, and this is essentially a "death sentence" for people in Yemen, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a statement. Read more about the crisis in Yemen at The Guardian. Catherine Garcia

April 5, 2019

Lawmakers in the House and Senate urged President Trump on Friday not to veto a resolution passed by Congress that seeks to cut off U.S. funding for the Saudi-led coalition in the Yemeni civil war, reports The Hill.

The bipartisan group of 9 lawmakers said Trump's support for the resolution would "set a new precedent for cooperation with both chambers of Congress to overcome such entrenched opposition to foreign-policy restraint." The House voted 247 to 175 Thursday to end U.S. participation in Yemen's civil war. Lawmakers denounced the Saudi-led bombing campaign against Iran-backed Houthi rebels, saying it had deepened an already devastating humanitarian crisis. The Senate passed the resolution last month. Trump is expected to veto it, but the group asked to meet with him to discuss the issue.

"Both during your campaign and presidency, you have spoken out against a bipartisan tendency to be drawn into costly and never-ending conflicts across the globe," reads the letter, also noting the Saudi-led coalition was formed before Trump took office.

The letter, which was organized by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), was also co-signed by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) The White House cited "serious constitutional concerns" in opposing the resolution, saying it was based on an "erroneous premise." Summer Meza

March 13, 2019

In a rebuke to President Trump, the Senate voted on Wednesday to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.

Seven Republicans joined the Democrats to vote for the resolution, which now heads to the House, where a similar measure was passed earlier this year. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) worked together on the legislation, and on the Senate floor Wednesday, Sanders called U.S. involvement "clearly unconstitutional."

The coalition is fighting the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, but during bombing campaigns, civilians have been killed, and aid has been blocked. The United Nations has called what is happening in Yemen the world's worst humanitarian crisis. Catherine Garcia

February 13, 2019

On Wednesday, the House voted 248-177 to pass a resolution ending U.S. military support for the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.

Eighteen Republicans joined 230 Democrats to pass the measure, which curtails presidential war powers. On Monday, President Trump's advisers argued that the measure is "flawed," because U.S. boots are not on the ground in Yemen, The Washington Post reports. The U.S. has pulled back on some assistance, including aerial refueling of Saudi planes, and anything else would "harm bilateral relationships in the region," the advisers said.

The resolution, which now heads to the Senate, is also a way to condemn Saudi Arabia following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Catherine Garcia

February 3, 2019

Pope Francis called for an end to war and provision of humanitarian relief in Yemen at the start of his first papal trip to the Arabian Peninsula on Sunday.

"The people are exhausted by the long conflict, and many children are hungry, but humanitarian aid isn't accessible. The cries of these children and their parents rise up to God," Francis said. He urged world leaders "to urgently promote compliance with the agreements reached, to ensure the distribution of food, and to work for the good of the population."

The United States has provided material and intelligence support for the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen since 2015, maintaining involvement even as the Saudi coalition blockade and airstrikes foster the world's most acute humanitarian crisis. Bonnie Kristian

December 17, 2018

Clashes broke out in the Yemeni port city of Hudaydah just minutes after a ceasefire took effect at midnight Tuesday.

Hudaydah is a port city 90 miles east of the capital of Sanaa. Houthi rebels took control of Hudaydah in late 2014, and since June, the city has been under assault by the Saudi-led coalition that supports the government, BBC News reports. The ceasefire was agreed to last Thursday in Sweden during talks sponsored by the United Nations, but was delayed when fighting broke out on Friday.

Yemen's civil war has been raging for almost four years. More than 22 million Yemenis need aid, and Hudaydah is a crucial entrance point for food, medicine, and other supplies. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that 16 million Yemenis do not have safe water to drink, 25 percent of children are not attending school, and two million people have been displaced from their homes. Catherine Garcia

November 28, 2018

The Senate voted 63-37 on Wednesday to advance a bill that would end U.S. involvement in the war in Yemen. Fourteen Republicans joined all 49 Democrats in supporting the measure.

The bill was proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). In March, the Senate rejected the same measure. The vote came after the Senate was briefed on Saudi involvement in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi; it was reported earlier this month that the CIA believes Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi's murder, but Defense Secretary James Mattis told senators there's "no smoking gun" implicating him.

The U.S. is giving Saudi Arabia weapons that they are using in their fight against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East, is also experiencing the world's worst humanitarian crisis. Thousands of civilians have been killed in the war, airstrikes have hit weddings and school buses, and more than 85,000 children have died due to famine. Millions more are nearing starvation, and the country does not have ample medication or clean water. Catherine Garcia

November 26, 2018

Aid groups on Monday urged the U.S. to stop providing military support to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in Yemen, where a civil war has put 14 million people at risk of famine, reports The Hill.

Leaders of the International Rescue Committee, Oxfam America, CARE US, Save the Children USA, and Norwegian Refugee Council, USA, all signed the joint statement. The humanitarian crisis in Yemen "is entirely man-made," the groups wrote, and U.S. humanitarian aid hasn't done enough to outweigh the "military support and diplomatic cover" to Saudi Arabia and the UAE as the nations provide weapons in an effort to dismantle Houthi forces in Yemen. The U.S. has supported the coalition, which has been accused of committing war crimes against civilians

If it does not end military support in the region, the groups wrote, the U.S. "will bear responsibility" for civilian deaths. Though the U.S. earlier this month announced it would no longer provide midair refueling for Saudi planes conducting airstrikes in Yemen and called for a ceasefire, the aid groups said more proactive and drastic steps between all parties are needed to help Yemenis "live through the winter."

"It pains us to write these words, but we cannot escape the truth," reads the statement. "If it does not cease its military support for the Saudi/UAE coalition, the United States, too, will bear responsibility for what may be the largest famine in decades." Read the full statement at Oxfam America. Summer Meza

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