Yemen at the brink, again

Paris (Brussels Morning) As clashes intensify within the last government stronghold of Marib in Yemen and fears rise of massive displacement in what is already the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. International humanitarian organisations and the UN repeat their warning that the beleaguered country is heading to an unprecedented famine.

In the meantime, UN-led efforts to bring humanitarian assistance to the Yemeni people was let down by lukewarm donations, while the UK underwent broad cuts to humanitarian expenditure. As western governments come under intense criticism for their double-standards over Yemen, the change of direction of the Biden administration allows room for hope albeit concrete urgent action is deemed necessary to avoid a looming tragedy.

Famine and lukewarm donations

The UN has repeatedly warned the fighting around Marib could lead to the war’s largest displacement so far — thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) have found refuge in the region since 2015. In its latest update, the UN office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) notes that across Yemen 16 million people will face hunger this year, and nearly 50,000 are already starving to death in famine-like conditions. While malnutrition rates are at record highs, 400,000 children could be in their last weeks and months without urgent treatment.