YEMEN CRISIS: WHAT PRICE ARE PEOPLE PAYING IN THE NAME OF CONFLICT? –
The Yemeni crisis has its origins from the incapacitated governance and lack of proper transition to
peaceful governance. Although Hadi came to power in 2011, replacing Saleh, who ruled Yemen for over
33 years, he couldn’t put an end to Problems such as inflation, increase of fuel prices and growing
insecurity and terrorist attacks.
While the government has to be accounted for the aggravated crisis, the Houthis Movement and saudi led
coalition forces targeting each other, are to be blamed for, for plaguing the country with unrest and
civilian crisis leaving it to become a battle ground. What started as a coalition meant to curtail the spread
of Shia influence and ultimately the iranian influence on Yemen, became a problem that people paid the
most costs for, through the escalated problems of Unrest, Inflation, Human insecurity and unaffordability
affecting the standards of living. As Per the UN, more than 60 percent of the civilian deaths are due to the
saudi Led Air strikes even since the conflict began.
In the early 2015, the Shia led Houthi movement gained importance as they received support from the
sunni community and other civilians of Yemen due to their urge for transition. The people were proven
disillusioned later when the Houthi rebels began to take control over the territory of Sanaa and other
territories such as Aden, Taiz and North Western Yemen. These rebels were believed to be supported by
Iran, which is also a shia Majority country. However, this situation glared an alarm that the rise of
Houthis would favour the rise of Iran in the region which is against the religious sentiments of Saudi
Arabia and eight other sunni majority countries. Thus started a Saudi Led Coalition backed by the USA,
UK and France to suppress the rebels and restore Hadi’s Government.
Ever since the conflict began, the two sides exchanged air strikes and other violent means that led to
immense loss of life and property. What was thought to be a week’s affair lasted for more than two years
of tight blockade. Meanwhile several terrorist groups like Islamic State and Al-Qaeda in the Arabian
peninsula. The saudi led forces have succeeded in removing the rebels from certain places but not all. The
Houthi rebels, Saudi Led coalition and various ingrown and external terrorist agencies continue to have a
share of land under their dominance even till today.
In 2018, the situation escalated when both houthis and the saudi led coalition tried to combat near the city
of hudayudah that would probably result in the destruction of the sea port, which more than two thirds of
Yemeni Population depend on. It could have led to an unavoidable famine if the situation went out of
control as warned by the UN. Finally, the stockholm agreement stopped the escalation and ordered the
redeployment of forces. But, one could only be mistaken if they think the unending war of yemen has
ended. Troops of both sides are still seen in Hudayudah which only indicates a collapse of the Stockholm
Agreement in the future which would attract a full-pledged battle if it happens so.
Keeping the war and the parties aside, the biggest price is paid by the Yemeni citizens who lost not only
security but their homes and Property. Also, the prices for basic goods and services have gone up and
have surged to an extent that common people cannot afford basic goods like flour, Sugar and Vegetable
Oil. It is estimated that the cost of flour has increased by 120% since the conflict began. As a country that
depends on imports mostly, it has faced the worst food and commodity shortage due to the blockade of
ports for more than a year. Apart from that several air and sea ports have been closed leaving people
stranded in and out of the country. This led to widespread displacement and many of them fled abroad to
save their lives which is too risky. Separation of families is seen more in Yemen since 2018 when the
conflict escalated. It is estimated that more than
Due to the negative development of the country, many people lost jobs and haven’t been able to receive
salaries. As a result, most people are crossing the poverty lines and are unable to afford basic nutrition.
The rise of prices constantly added to the worsening conditions in Yemen and today, more than 20
Million People are in need of assistance. It is estimated by the UN that over 17 Million People are in need
Yemen is witnessing more deaths since 2018, with numbers rising in thousands as the years pass by. Due
to ineffective humanitarian access, the country is now feared to arrive at the conditions of famine which
would only create the worst ever humanitarian crisis in the world. The escalation of conflict, the loss of
employment and productivity are some of the reasons for this. The relief measures fall short of around $2
Billion and it is difficult to Provide assistance in many conflicted regions like Sanaa and Aden. According
to UNICEF, more than 2 Million children in Yemen are Malnourished.
If conflict and governance caused the crisis, the outbreak of cholera and Coronavius is only making it
worse. More than 50,000 Cases of cholera are being reported per week in Yemen. The non availability of
proper resources to medical treatment and shutting down of medical centres, hospitals and pharmacies is
resulting in deaths of innocent civilians. No Proper access to sanitation and clean drinking water is
resulting in various diseases including dengue and measles. The COVID-19 outbreak has taken many
lives due to the non availability of basic resources to curb the spreading.
The Power Grid and Communication systems are absent in most of the conflicted areas and public
services become almost negligible as there is no proper operation and regulation. The situation has been
the same since 2015 and it is only worsening with the escalation of unrest and civil war. Most People live
in homes without roofs and basic facilities which makes them the most vulnerable during any
The Middle easten country, which is one of the poorest in the world is now heading towards the worst.
Many people want to flee abroad while they cannot. Many people do not believe the idea that there is
scope for development in future. Many citizens are of the opinion that this is a war that never ends. The
terms that it is the LARGEST HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN THE WORLD speaks volumes of
assistance that yemen needs at the moment. There is a need of urgent action to avert the irreversible loss
of life and Property through Proper mandates and Policies.
Author: Mudunuri Navya, Research Associate, Center for Human Security Studies.