6 Years After their Revolution, 6 Weeks of Food is All Many Yemenis Have Left

Published November 23rd, 2017 - 07:00 GMT
Yemen is in the midst of a cholera outbreak (AFP)
Yemen is in the midst of a cholera outbreak (AFP)
  • Yemen's former president Ali Abdullah Saleh stepped aside on this day six years ago heralding a new era of freedom
  • But six years later, the country has little to celebrate amid a brutal civil war and daily Saudi-led bombings
  • The Saudi-led coalition has finally agreed to ease a two week air and sea aid blockade
  • But aid organizations are still struggling with some claiming that there is just six weeks worth of food in the capital

As Yemen marks six years since the country hopefully transitioned to democracy, the country is today facing an aid blockade which could leave many without food within six weeks.

On this day six years ago Yemen’s then-president  Ali Abdullah Saleh inked a deal to transfer power to the vice president, in exchange for legal immunity.

Saleh would later flee the country for Saudi Arabia and Yemen would supposedly herald in a new era of democracy.
However, as with many revolutions at the time, the jubilation was short-lived.

In 2011, the Arab Spring shook the foundations of the Middle East and triggered regime change and chaos across the region.

Today, many of the countries where revolutions took place have changed beyond all recognition - the shift is particularly apparent in Yemen where the country plays host to a brutal proxy war which has left thousands dead and many more in poverty and on the brink of starvation.

A Saudi-led coalition drops bombs on the country daily in a war against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels with civilians caught in the middle amid a severe Cholera outbreak.

Rather than celebrate six years of democracy, many Yemenis will today be alarmed by the fact that the country’s capital could be out of food within just six weeks.

Johan Mooij, the Yemen director for humanitarian organization CARE made the claim as he painted a horrific picture of the scene on the ground.

“People are getting really worried,” he told Time Magazine.

“Prices for fuel have gone up 160%. The price of water has doubled in the past couple days,” he added.

His comments came as the Saudi-led military coalition pledged to ease the blockade which has stopped all humanitarian traffic for the past two weeks.

The blockade, which began after Houthi rebels fired a missile at the Saudi capital, is set to be eased today with the reopening of the war-torn country’s main airport in Sanaa, and Hodeida port to humanitarian traffic.

The port of Salef is also expected to reopen, according to deputy U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq told The Associated Press.

“It is good news, but we are still waiting to see the specific details,” said Jamie McGoldrick, the U.N. humanitarian chief for Yemen in a statement to the same outlet.

It is unclear whether port traffic levels will return to previous levels.

Despite the news that the blockade may be eased, many in Sanaa are still worried about the country’s future.

However, Mooij says that he and his team will continue to work despite the difficult circumstances.

“We are humanitarians, so we are used to working under difficult circumstances,” he said.

“We are on the phone, on Skype, on email, trying to get the world to understand there is a humanitarian crisis going on.”

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