Archive for December 3rd, 2017

How Yemen became the most wretched place on earth

Nov 30th 2017 | ADEN, HODEIDA AND SANA’A

A report from a conflict zone the world ignores

ALONG the road from the port city of Hodeida to Sana’a, Yemen’s capital, rugged mountains rise sharply from a coastal plain, then level off, giving way to a raised plateau. Old stone farmhouses overlook terraced fields, fed by mountain rains. To the south are lush forests, where baboons and wildcats live. Yemen’s vast deserts spread to the east. The diversity of the landscape is breathtaking. But amid all this natural beauty, there is misery.

Yemen was the poorest country in the Middle East even before the outbreak of war in 2014 between Houthi rebels and government forces. The conflict has heaped devastation upon poverty. Since fighting began Yemen has suffered the biggest cholera outbreak in modern history and is on the brink of the harshest famine the world has seen for decades. The conflict has shattered the water, education and health systems. The UN says that it is the world’s worst current humanitarian crisis. Three-quarters of the population of 28m need help.

The war in Yemen, and looming humanitarian catastrophe, has gone largely unnoticed beyond its borders. The fighting is rooted in old conflicts and now involves many groups, sucking in Yemen’s neighbours. But no single force has emerged that is strong enough or competent enough to hold the entire country together, making the prospects for peace dim. Read the rest of this entry »


The war the world ignores

Economist (Leader)
Nov 30th 2017

How—and why—to end the war in Yemen

A pointless conflict has caused the worst humanitarian crisis in the world

YEMEN lost the title of Arabia Felix, or “Fortunate Arabia”, long ago. It has suffered civil wars, tribalism, jihadist violence and appalling poverty. But none of this compares with the misery being inflicted on the country today by the war between a Saudi-led coalition and the Houthis, a Shia militia backed by Iran.

The UN reckons three-quarters of Yemen’s 28m people need some kind of humanitarian aid. Mounting rubbish, failing sewerage and wrecked water supplies have led to the worst cholera outbreak in recent history. The country is on the brink of famine. The economy has crumbled, leaving people with impossible choices. Each day the al-Thawra hospital in Hodeida must decide which of the life-saving equipment to run with what little fuel it has.

Perhaps the worst of it is that much of the world seems unperturbed (see Briefing), calloused by the years of bloodshed in Syria and other parts of the Middle East, and despairing of its ability to effect change. To be cynical, Yemen is farther away from Europe than Syria is; its wretched people do not, on the whole, wash up in the West seeking asylum. Read the rest of this entry »