Arab coalition in Yemen provides aid but debilitates country

The Arab coalition in Yemen may provide aid but it also debilitates the country
5 min read
24 March, 2018
In-depth: The Arab coalition's aid to Yemenis is undeniable, but they overlook a solid truth: it is their war which has given birth to the armies of aid-dependent civilians.
An estimated 16 million Yemenis need humanitarian assistance [Getty]
Almost every day, the local and international media cover the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen. Highlighting the plight in this country appears to be on the agenda of several media outlets home and overseas.

Given the magnitude of Yemen's humanitarian tragedy, multiple nations worldwide have provided billions of dollars in aid to Yemen. Among these are the Arab coalition countries particularly Saudi Arabia and UAE.

While these states' aid to Yemenis is undeniable, they both tend to overlook a solid truth: it is their war which has given birth to the armies of aid-dependent civilians in Yemen.

On Tuesday March 20, the spokesperson of King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) said a fresh campaign had been launched to deliver aid in Yemen including areas under the Iran-allied Houthi control.

“Our aim is to ensure relief supply to those in need without interruption and without discrimination," Nasser Al-Nafe, a centre's spokesman was quoted as saying. 

Irrespective of the sea of food baskets heading to Yemen from Saudi Arabia or UAE, the situation in Yemen cannot be repaired alone by commodities such as flour, oil, sugar and dates.

Irrespective of the sea of food baskets heading to Yemen from Saudi Arabia or UAE, the situation in Yemen cannot be repaired alone by commodities such as flour, oil, sugar and dates

After three years of the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen, millions are on the brink of famine, millions are homeless and thousands of people have been killed. While this ordeal is magnifying, the aid trucks coming from abroad cannot, and will not, be sufficient to address the awful humanitarian conditions in the country.

Like Saudi Arabia, UAE gloats over its aid provision to various areas in Yemen. Whenever the food baskets are fetched to poverty-stricken areas, the cameras document everything in order to tell the world: look we are destroying Yemen but we provide aid to the poor.

On Tuesday, Emirati WAM news agency reported the first aid training course for women in a rural area in Hadramout by the Emirates Red Crescent.

At a time when dozens of women may benefit from this training course, millions of women elsewhere in Yemen are suffering from the relentless blockade and daily airstrikes by the Arab coalition.

Whenever the food baskets are fetched to poverty-stricken areas, the cameras document everything in order to tell the world: look we are destroying Yemen but we provide aid to the poor

Supplying aid but incapacitating the government

What the Arab coalition countries, especially Saudi Arabia and UAE, are doing in Yemen is a phenomenal paradox. Their media report spending millions in aid to Yemen, and they say they want to see a stable Yemen. However, they work to weaken the internationally recognised government and maintain the country in a whirlwind of instability.

Nowadays, Yemenis do not want humanitarian aid only, but they need a strong government to work on the providing the basic services to the population.

The legitimate president, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, has been in exile in Riyadh, and the government ministers cannot find a safe place in Yemen to stay. As long as this is the case, the countless millions of aid convoys will not help resolve the crisis in Yemen.

Two weeks back, reports said that president Hadi is under house arrest in Riyadh and he cannot return to Yemen. So, the best aid to Yemen is helping its government be sovereign and strong.

This week, deputy prime minister Abdulaziz Jubari handed over his resignation to Hadi. In an interview on the heels of his resignation, Jubari said, "The relation between the government and the coalition should be rectified. The government should be a peer, not a subordinate."

In an interview on the heels of his resignation, Jubari said, 'The relation between the government and the coalition should be rectified. The government should be a peer, not a subordinate'

This statement is pointing out that the coalition displays no genuine respect for the Yemeni government and people.

Moreover, late January this year, UAE-backed southern separatists stormed the presidential palace in Aden, capturing public institutions and military outposts by force of weapon.

The UAE-led fighters were also flown to pound the government forces and pave the way for the advance of the secessionist forces. That was another evident indicator that the coalition does not have a serious desire to see a strong, unified and stable government in Yemen.

While the coalition countries continue to show disregard to the Yemeni government, they persist on sending aid to some affected areas. This unfolds for one purpose: the coalition wants to see the civilians in this nation as aid seekers forever. For three years, the coalition dispatches aid to a small portion of civilians in Yemen and its warplanes pour bombs on the country's vital facilities.

The coalition wants to see the civilians in this nation as aid seekers forever

The catastrophe in figures

Yemen is struggling with multi-faceted crises including displacement, poverty and epidemics. Though the Saudi-led coalition does allocate money for mitigating the appalling humanitarian conditions, millions of Yemenis are suffering since the coalition's aid cannot address all tragedies nationwide.

The crises have swollen beyond the expectations, and figures on food insecurity, epidemics and deaths are rising.

In a recent report published by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, it was stated the "conflict will continue at a similar scale to 2017 and that the deterioration of economic, security and social conditions will accelerate."

Up to date figures on the gravity of the humanitarian situation in Yemen can be briefly outlined as follows:

9,245 have been killed deaths and over 52,807 injured

Over three million people have been forced to flee from their homes

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) declined by 41.8 percent between 2015 and 2017

Some 1.8 million children and 1.1 million pregnant or lactating women are acutely malnourished

22.2 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance

17.8 million people in Yemen are food insecure

Only 50 percent of health facilities are functional

16.4 million people in Yemen require assistance to ensure adequate access to healthcare

An estimated 16 million Yemenis need humanitarian assistance to maintain access to safe water, basic sanitation and hygiene facilities

21 percent of schools across the country are unfit for use for educational activities due to the war destruction

An estimated 4.1 million school-aged children require assistance to continue their education

Food prices increased between 26 to 85 percent in December 2017