Yemen’s civil war, now in its seventh year with no immediate hope of peace in view, is driving residents of the Middle East’s poorest country deeper into misery.
Already struggling to control communicable disease and chronic malnutrition when the civil war broke out, Yemen today is seen as the world’s worst humanitarian disaster. Since the start of the war, more than 100,000 have lost their lives as a direct result of the conflict, while 131,000 others are believed to have died from indirect causes such as starvation and disease.
Children have suffered especially, with 2 million under age 5 classified as acutely malnourished and living in near-famine conditions. A United Nations report in early 2019 concluded: “Yemen now risks losing its youngest generation to a vicious cycle of violence, displacement, poverty and illiteracy.”
Beginning in spring 2017, the country endured the world’s largest cholera outbreak in recent memory, with more than 1 million suspected cases reported before the end of the year. Between January 2018 and September 2019, an additional 991,000-plus suspected cases were reported.
In this challenging environment, International Medical Corps serves areas of Yemen with some of the most pressing humanitarian needs, even though widespread damage to existing infrastructure has restricted access to many areas. More than half of Yemen’s health facilities no longer function, and—with the government unable to support the country’s health system—only outside assistance prevents it from total collapse.