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Yemen is facing severe humanitarian crises after Afghanistan, Central Republic of Africa and Cameron. Throughout the last year, the situation has been alarming in the country. In the current year, Yemen is likely to face the worst humanitarian crises in the world. People are running out of food and shelter as a result of massive devastation in the country (Fitzpatrick, 2018). The root cause needs to be addressed in order to find some solution. The significant issues in the country are conflict, poverty, food scarcity, failure of developmental programmes, and change in the climate. According to an estimate by the coordinator of Emergency Relief Fund Mark Lowcock that United Nations alongside its partners plan to help the Yemenis who have been facing the worst conditions for the last few years. The World Food Programme has issued a warning that Yemen is on the verge of full famine as eighteen million out of its 29 million people are facing food insecurity, and among them, 8.4 are severely affected (Mohareb, Ivers, 2019). The civil war in the country intensified after the military intervention from Saudi Arabia in the year 2015, which shattered the countrys economy and as a result Yemeni Riyal depreciated by 180.
The overall cost of food went up by 35 during the last one year or so, and if the situation persists the riyal will face further decline, and it will be another massive blow for the economy (Pollard, 2018). In addition, more than twelve million people of the country are at the risk of starvation according to the reports by UN officials. One of the major problems has been the denial of access with Yemen which hindered food supplies and medicines since people were in dire need of these supplies. The areas which are controlled by Houthi rebels were the most affected because the access became more difficult in these areas. An investigation carried out by associated press suggested that some households in the northern part of Houthi-dominated regions of Aslam have been found eating leaves to remain alive when the distribution of edible things was unfair and influenced by the local authorities. The situation is alarming around the port of Hodeidah, the place where Saudi forces and its allies are making advancement to take control of the port city, which has been under the control of Houthi rebels since the last quarter of 2014. According to the UN, citizens are the most vulnerable in the country. All the stakeholders in the conflict have assured WFP that the lifeline port will keep operating in all cases, but WFP is seeking alternatives, in fact, the crises deepen, and the parties do not keep their promises.
Moreover, almost 70 to 80 of the food and medical supplies are received at the docks. However, the Houthi rebels are violating the principles, and they are not allowing the fair distribution of food and medical supplies in the country. Unfortunately, the air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition have destroyed hospitals, residential areas, markets, and even funerals. The civilians casualties in the war were not the result of collateral damage instead it was considered a direct attack on civilians.
Yemen is of the poorest countries of the Arab world, which has gone through a lot of destruction due to civil war. In the past few years, the fighting was fuelled for some reasons, and mainly Saudi Arabia and its allies have started the war in the region while Iran has been backing Houthi rebels therefore, this war is the proxy war of Iran and Saudi Arabia that affects the whole region and crisis are deepening. The conflict began as a result of the failure of political changeover which was expected to bring stability to the nation in the wake of the Arab Spring as the longtime authoritative President Ali Abdullah Saleh was pressurized to transfer power to his second-in-command Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi in the year 2011(Moghadam, 2018). As soon as Hadi became President, he had to deal with various challenges which included the attacks by jihadis. The separatist movement in the southern part was also giving a tough time to the new govt. of Hadi. The Houthi movement was primarily a Shia movement, and they fought hard in the last decade when Saleh was in govt. Therefore, they exploited the weakness of the Hadis government and intensified their armed struggle against creating severe problems for the state. Yemen had a history of conflicts on sectarian grounds. In Hadis government, Houthi rebels took control of the northern heartland province of Saada and its adjacent areas.
The overall Yemeni population was not happy with the transition, and that is why they started supporting Houthi rebels, and by the late 2014 and beginning of 2015, the rebels took control of the capital Sanaa. The overall situation worsened for the President Hadi. The Saleh loyalist forces and the Houthi rebels conflict stretched to the whole country in an attempt to take get control of the country. The security situation in the country deteriorated which forced President Hadi to leave Yemen and settle abroad in the year 2015. As Saudi Arabia is a predominantly Sunni-Muslim country and the previous govt. Of Saleh and the next one got their full backing while Iran is country of Shia-Muslim majority therefore, they began to support Houthi rebels who were fighting hard to gain control of the country.
Saudi Arabia alongside eight Sunni Muslim States began air strikes in the country with an objective to reinstate Hadis government as they did not want Houthi rebels to get control of Yemen. The Saudi-led coalition got intelligence and logistic support from the United States, the United Kingdom, and France. In the process, civilians were at the receiving end, and still, they are suffering as a result of the war. Moreover, the coalition troops entered the southern port city of Aden in 2015 and drove Houthi rebels out of the south side in by October and November 2015. As a result, Hadis government settled temporarily in the Aden. However, it could not deliver fundamental services such as security, peace, and shelter, and the President continued to live in self-exile as his life was threatened in the city. Meanwhile, Houthi rebels were not pushed back from the capital Sanaa and were able to besiege another important city Taiz to hit ballistic missile across the border in Saudi Arabias territory. The conflict has been going on for last few years, and in the June 2018, the coalition launched an offensive on the rebel-controlled city of Hudaybah, whose port is the main lifeline for about 67 of the population of Yemen.
Yemen is a mall oil producing nation which is not part of OPEC. Yemen provides foreign companies with the opportunity to explore oil fields by employing their capital and technological resource. Before the civil war of 2015, the oil sector contributed 65 of its revenue and a quarter of its GDP. The country has not been able to export oil since the beginning of 2015 due to the conflict. The war disrupted oil production which was the primary source of Yemens earning. However, exports at the small level resumed from Yemen in the year 2017. Furthermore, International oil companies in Yemen, for example, OMV from Austria wants to resume its operations in the near future. If other foreign companies also support Yemen and start their operations in the country, it will undoubtedly be a good indicator for the overall economy of Yemen, but the operations of international companies largely depend upon the law and order situation of the country which needs to improve.
Yemens General Investment Authority (GIA) is the national agency for Foreign Direct promotion and coordination. If it offers an incentive to foreign companies to resume operations in the country, then the overall situation will improve. The recent development of economic measures was discussed by the IMF team under the supervision of Albert Jaeger. The group visited Amman (Jordons capital). They held talks with the high official of the Yemeni government and the Central Bank of Yemen to mitigate the humanitarian crisis in the year 2019. In the statement made by Jaeger, he emphasized increased donor grant to facilitate Yemen to overcome the shortage of foreign exchange that shrunk the overall imports. Therefore, the Donors grant directed through the Central Bank of Yemen would result in positive foreign exchange resources for necessary food imports but would facilitate the country to stabilize the rate of exchange and minimize inflation which is already affecting country adversely.
In this respect, the IMFs team meeting with Yemeni official would make a good impact on the overall economic condition of the country as it has urged foreign players to play their role in Yemens stability through donations and to help to develop peace in the country through dialogues and meetings (Takagi et al., 2018). As IMF expressed concerns for the betterment of Yemen, hopefully, their officials will facilitate Yemen to establish their institutions that got severely affected due to war. Finally, the economic figures are not very impressive in the country as GDP (PPP) 38.6 billion, the growth is -13.8, -16.1 five-year compound annual growth, and 1,287 per capita (Yemen Economy GDP, Inflation, Business.,2019). These figures will improve if the IMFs recommendations are implemented and the international community responds to it positively.
Yemen is facing the worst humanitarian Crisis in the world, and the situation may worsen in the current year. To resolve the crisis, the International community needs to step up to end to a conflict which has been affecting civilians. The country is at the risk of full-blown famine. The international powers such as U.S., UK, and France need to play their role positively, and they should bring Houthi rebels and President Hadis supporters on the table for peace talks so that things could improve in the country. As far as international trade is concerned, the plan of OMV to resume operation in Yemen is encouraging. The recent visit of the IMF team in Amman in which talks were held with Yemenis authorities is the positive sign as it may bring investment in the country which would exchange rate and would reduce inflation.
Fitzpatrick, J. J. (2018). Yet another humanitarian crisis involving innocent children. Archives of psychiatric nursing, 32(5), 661.
Moghadam, V. M. (2018). The History Behind Yemens Humanitarian Crisis. Peace and Freedom, 78(1), 8-11.
Mohareb, A. M., Ivers, L. C. (2019). Disease and Famine as Weapons of War in Yemen. New England Journal of Medicine, 380(2), 109-111.
Pollard, D. (2018, August). Yemeni Crisis Dynamics Water Security and Possible Routes to Civilian Casualty Minimization. In Proceedings of the 10th International RAIS Conference on Social Sciences and Humanities.
Takagi, S., Donovan, D., Momani, B., Perez, L. L., de Las Casas, M., Pisa, M. (2018). The IMF and Fragile StatesEight Selected Country Cases. Background Document No. BD/18-02/01 (Washington International Monetary Fund).
Yemen Economy Population, GDP, Inflation, Business, Trade, FDI, Corruption. (2019). Retrieved from https//www.heritage.org/index/country/yemen
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