“I don’t think the word ‘human’ applies to the people in western Yemen who lack all basic services,” Ibrahim Al-Kala’e said while describing the suffering in Hodeida province.
“All people living in the coastline areas don’t have access to any basic services — no food, no hospitals, no clean water, no education and no jobs,” he said. “All we have is a highway.”
Hodeida has the highest rates of poverty and malnutrition in Yemen.
Abdullah Ahmed, a father to one kid, said all families in his village of Al-Dhukair are coping with harsh conditions as war has deepened their suffering.
“All we can do these days is trading handicrafts for a few thousands Yemeni rials per week, which we use to buy food and some basic products,” he said. “Many families in the region don’t have incomes and lack everything, who can’t find a way to make a proper living.”
In recent weeks, activists circulated photos of severely malnourished kids and men while calling for urgent interventions to help the population in Hodeida.
After 18 months of civil war and a Saudi-led bombing campaign, 14.1 million people in Yemen are food insecure, of whom 7.6 million are one step from famine, the UN said.
Around 14.4 million people lack access to adequate healthcare services and 19 million lack access to clean water and sanitation, it said.
Some 82 percent of Yemen’s total population, around 22.1 million, in Yemen require basic aid. The figure makes the humanitarian crisis in Yemen as the worst in the region, worse than Syria where 13 million people need aid after five years of civil war.
Lately, Save the Children said one in three Yemeni children, around 1.3 million, are suffering acute malnutrition.
Yemen used to import 90 percent of its food needs. The embargo by the Saudi-led coalition, as part of the bombing campaign launched in early 2015, has deprived the country of all supplies.
The coalition also has been targeting boats in the Red Sea where Hodeida people used to make a living. Locals said they can’t go fishing anymore after airstrikes targeted boats several times since the war escalated.
Fatik Al-Roudaini, founder of Mona Relief, said “the main reason for aggravation of the humanitarian crisis is the continued embargo and airstrikes.”
He said the situation in Hodeida is heartbreaking. “Many families live in straw houses but they don’t have anything inside,” he said. “They have nothing. No food, no furniture. Nothing, but hope.”
The embargo has also forced a halt to all foreign and most of local investments and led to severe shortages of medicines and fuels that have caused many hospitals to shut down.
The Yemeni factions, through UN-sponsored peace talks, have failed to reach a deal to end the war for several times.
Observers argued that the peace stalemate is a sign the factions care only abut military gains and they never care abut the catastrophic humanitarian crisis and collapsing economy.
“Actually the saddest thing is that we still don’t see any prospects for peace in Yemen,” observers said.
Nabil Albukiri, a political writer and analyst, said “if our factions cared about the people, the crises would not aggravate.”
Yaseen Al-Tamimi, another political analyst, said the deteriorating humanitarian crisis requires international community to find a way to make the factions implement the UN resolutions first.
“Moreover, it requires emergency interventions and decisiveness instead of bargaining or postponement,” Al-Tamimi added.