Yemen is a Humanitarian Disaster
The country of Yemen, which already faces the world’s worst cholera epidemic and an impending famine, is now threatened with a strike against the strategic port city of Hodeidah.
A coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, backed by the United States, has been hammering the entire Yemeni nation since 2015, resulting in the deaths of at least 15,000 civilians.
The coalition has now launched an offensive against the city of Hodeidah, which is critical to the continued delivery of nearly 80% of the total humanitarian aid sent to the people of Yemen. Without access to the port, thousands more will die.
The violence against Yemen has been unfathomable, and the damage done to the country irreparable.
Just this week, the U.S.-backed coalition decimated a newly-opened and desperately-needed cholera clinic run by Doctors Without Borders in the northwestern Abs region.
Doctors Without Borders reports that they had provided the coordinates of the clinic to the coalition, and that the roof of the building was clearly marked as a medical site.
It was bombed anyway.
Currently, the United States supports the coalition by providing critical refueling services to military planes and bombers, as well as through billions of dollars in arms sales and intelligence sharing.
Last month, the New York Times reported that Army Green Berets are present at the Saudi Arabia border and are helping to locate and destroy Houthi missile capabilities.
The current administration, however, wants to increase our country’s role in the war by providing direct assistance in the upcoming strike against Hodeidah, which would further imperil the lives of each and every Yemeni citizen.
“Seven million people are completely reliant every month on food, and more than 7 million on other assistance, from humanitarian organizations. So, Hodeidah is absolutely central to the preserving of life. And if, for any period, Hodeidah were not to operate effectively, the consequences in humanitarian terms would be catastrophic.” — Mark Lowcock, U.N. undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs
According to the World Health Organization, some 8.4 million Yemenis already face pre-famine conditions.
California Democratic Congressmember Ro Khanna has co-authored a bipartisan letter requesting that Defense Secretary James Mattis intervene to prevent the attack on the port city.
Also backing the letter are congressmembers Mark Pocan (D-WI), Justin Amash (R-MI), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Walter Jones (R-NC), and Ted Lieu (D-CA).
“We urge you to use all available means to avert a catastrophic military assault on Yemen’s major port city of Hodeidah by the Saudi-led coalition, and to present Congress with immediate clarification regarding the full scope of U.S. military involvement in that conflict.”
Various humanitarian groups as well as the United Nations have predicted that an attack against Hodeidah would not only further devastate the country, but could result in up to 250,000 civilian deaths.
“An attack on Hodeidah would mean thousands and thousands of women and children and civilians would die. Second, the port of Hodeidah is the only place right now, for practical purposes, that food and medicine can get into Yemeni civilians. So, this is—one would think it just should be common sense that the United States and the international community would be doing everything in our power to keep that port open.” — Khanna
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