On the ground in Yemen as the country enters a fifth year of fighting, Islamic Relief has renewed calls for world leaders to act to end the suffering.
Already one of the poorest countries in the Middle East before the conflict escalated in March 2015, Yemen is now widely seen as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Extreme hunger is commonplace and many live in the shadow of starvation. Water is scarce. Basic but essential services have all but broken down. Livelihoods lie in ruins and children are growing up without access to formal education.
“For the last four years, the people of Yemen have been held hostage to bombs, bullets and been forced to endure a near total collapse of basic services such as health and sanitation which have claimed tens of thousands of lives,” says Islamic Relief’s head of mission in Yemen, Muhammad Zulqarnain Abbas.
“As the conflict has lurched on and on, it has trapped families in an impossible situation of having to choose between feeding themselves or their children.”
No respite from war or hunger
Some 80% of the population have been affected by the war.
In one province after another, schools, factories, hospitals and farms have been destroyed. Some rural communities have for years been cut off from the outside world. The capital, Sanaa, has been repeatedly bombed and shelled. Roadblocks and restrictions in Taiz have pushed food prices to dangerous highs, whilst the sounds of battle have become the backdrop to life in Hodeida, where civilians fear the fragile ceasefire may not hold.