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How can world leaders turn their backs on the tragedy in Yemen?

The situation is worsening; the people of Yemen are on the brink of starvation. Urgent action by world leaders is needed

Written by Rachael Adams | 25 Mar 2022

A man receives an agricultural kit of tools and seeds from Tearfund’s local partner | Image credit: Tearfund partner

Yemen has been described by the United Nations as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. As well as living through the trauma of ongoing conflict, Yemenis are facing a catastrophic food shortage, with 17.4 million people in need of food assistance. This is the equivalent of more than 15 times the population of Birmingham suffering from hunger.

Yet, over the last few years, the United Nations has found its budget slashed for its humanitarian work in Yemen. The UK Government has also cut the aid it gives to Yemen by more than half.

With such a drastic loss of funding, it is hard not to see these acts as the world turning its back on the people of Yemen. And right when they are on the brink of starvation.

Crisis upon crisis

Yemen is facing its eighth year of conflict. More than 10,200 children are known to have been killed or wounded as a result of the fighting. Hospitals, schools and homes have been destroyed by airstrikes.

Yemen imports almost everything. But with fuel and food prices skyrocketing, most Yemenis can no longer afford the essentials. In the last two years, food prices have doubled making even a loaf of bread unaffordable for most families.

With Yemen relying on Ukraine for 30 per cent of its wheat imports, the situation will deteriorate even further.

The conflict has also exacerbated other crises in the country. Yemen has suffered from one of the largest cholera outbreaks ever recorded. Cholera is an illness caused by contaminated water, which can be fatal for children. It is also entirely preventable. It is estimated that there have been 2.5 million cases in the last six years in the country alone.

What is Tearfund doing?

Tearfund works through local partners in Yemen to help communities with the following:

  • Emergency food support for those who are facing hunger
  • Seeds, tools and farming training to help families become self-sufficient
  • Clean water and safe sanitation to help fight against cholera and other waterborne illnesses
  • Trauma support groups to help individuals and families cope with the ongoing conflict and the effects this has on their relationships
  • Equipping people to fit and use solar energy panels, which provides new skills as well as cuts down on increasing fuel costs

Top A mother and child who have been displaced by conflict receive a food package | Image credit: Tearfund partner. Bottom Tearfund’s local partners are helping people with emergency food items and other essentials. Two men receive food and hygiene items from Tearfund’s local partner.

Support like this is even more vital as other pathways of funding are being decimated and with the need increasing in Yemen.

The support is making so much difference to people like Yusrah* and Khalida*.

‘I have come out of the darkness in which I was living’

Yusrah tries to support her family as best she can, but times are difficult. As a widow, and someone who has been diagnosed with cancer, this has become even harder for her. But Tearfund’s local partners were able to help the family get back on their feet, by giving them the tools they needed to become self-sufficient again.

‘I could not plough our land due to the difficult financial situation, but because [Tearfund local partner] supported us with an agricultural kit I was able to!’ shares Yusrah. ‘We benefited from seeds, fertiliser, tools and support with ploughing. The land was ploughed and sown. Praise God!’

Khalida was invited to take part in one of the trauma support groups our local partners run, which helped her through a challenging emotional time. Her participation in the group also helped to restore relationships with her children.

‘I feel that the symptoms of depression and anxiety disappeared through the sessions, and even my dealings with my children changed,’ she shares.

‘I feel that I have come out of the darkness in which I was living.’

We won’t give up on the people of Yemen

Tearfund will not turn its back on the people of Yemen. We are committed to helping people where the need is greatest and we won’t stop now.

Lives are being changed in Yemen, but the need is growing. Yemen is on the brink of famine and unless more humanitarian funding is committed, the situation will become even more dire.

Please continue to pray with us for the people of Yemen and for peace.

Pray with us 

    • Lift up the people of Yemen and pray for their protection from illness, disease and conflict. Ask God to provide for all their daily needs, such as food, clean water and fuel.
    • Pray for an overflow of compassion from people and governments around the world so that there will be an increase in funding – allowing the needs of those in Yemen to be met.
    • Please keep praying for peace.

*Names changed to protect identities

Written by

Written by  Rachael Adams

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