No Respite for the Victims of Yemen’s ‘Forgotten War’

No Respite for the Victims of Yemen’s ‘Forgotten War’
Tribesmen loyal to Houthi rebels during a gathering aimed at mobilizing more fighters into battlefronts in several Yemeni cities, Sanaa, Yemen, Nov. 10, 2016 (AP photo by Hani Mohammed).

“While parties bicker,” outgoing U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in June 2015, “Yemen burns.” Some 18 months later, with war dragging on between Houthi rebels and the Saudi-led coalition seeking to oust them, little has changed.

As aid agencies once again raise the specter of famine in the Arab world’s poorest country, the prospects for a U.N.-brokered peace deal remain distant. The internationally recognized government, which was pushed out of the capital, Sanaa, by the Houthis in 2014, has flatly rejected the U.N.’s latest proposal, while the rebels late last month announced the formation of a new government.

Amid this jostle for political position and a military stalemate, exacerbated by a foreign currency crisis and a naval blockade, aid agencies have again warned that Yemen, already a full-scale humanitarian crisis, is on the verge of famine. On Dec. 6, the U.K.-based charity Oxfam issued a statement saying that if the current situation in Yemen is allowed to continue, the country will run out of food “in months” and millions will starve.

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