Yemen: Will 60 Days of No War Save lives?
I took this picture of an elderly woman suffering outside the skirts of Hodeidah North of Yemen, at the center frontlines of the war. We were assisting with medical aid and providing medicine and laboratory supplies when a health worker asked me to visit the near by village.
As we continue to watch the news learning the courage of Ukraine men and women, we often ignore Yemen and how dire the situation is. The world can ill afford another failed state — a new Afghanistan or Somalia — that becomes a breeding-ground for global terrorism.
All parties to the conflict in Yemen have responded positively to a United Nations proposal for a two-month Truce which came into effect on 2 April this week. The parties accepted to halt all offensive military air, ground and maritime operations inside Yemen and across its borders; they also agreed for fuel ships to enter into Hodeidah ports and commercial flights to operate in and out of Sana’a airport to predetermined destinations in the region.
The UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg led the work. If effectively implemented, the truce will go a long way in reducing violence, alleviating the suffering of people in Yemen.
As the holy month of Ramadan, a time of peace and reflection begins in Yemen, the people seem to fight for food. The fact it comes with Ramadan gives people a lot of hope.
The truce came into effect, at the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Right after a significant escalation of violence in recent months which has killed at least 600 people, including 45 children in January alone.
Alongside the cessation of hostilities, the agreement on April 2nd makes provision for the reopening of Hodeida port to fuel ships and Sana’a airport for commercial flights.
After more than seven years of ongoing conflict, this truce offers people in Yemen a moment of hope, the chance for real peace and finally, after suffering through years of conflict, trauma and displacement, to allow them to take the first steps to rebuild and recover their lives.
Over the past year, the Huthis have launched a series of drone and missile attacks on Saudi Arabia and the UAE, hitting key infrastructure.
Last month, they attacked 16 targets in Saudi Arabia, turning an oil plant near a Formula One track in Jeddah into a blazing inferno.
Oil prices extended losses on Monday (April 4) as investors eyed the release of supplies from strategic reserves from consuming nations, while a truce in Yemen could ease supply disruption concerns in the Middle East.
“This was a threat to supply, and a ceasefire would reduce that threat to supply,” said Phil Flynn, an analyst at Price Futures Group.
Will the truce hold?
The Huthis and the coalition have not reported any major violations since the truce started Saturday at 7:00 pm (1600 GMT).
What NGOs in Yemen think?
“We welcome this much-needed truce and urge all parties to adhere and respect it, as well as take all necessary measures to ensure its successful implementation,” said Mr. David Gressly, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen. United Nations OCHA.
“This would facilitate civilian and commercial movements and enhance humanitarian access enabling aid agencies to reach people in need in areas where armed conflict and insecurity had presented major challenges for the delivery of humanitarian assistance,” he added.
Norwegian Refugee Council Yemen country director stated “This is a very important development for millions of Yemenis whose country has been ravaged by war for over seven years” and Save the Children’s Country Director for Yemen, Rama Hansraj, said “This truce is welcome news and we hope it will mean that children in Yemen will receive a much-needed respite from all the violence of the past seven years.
“Over the last few months we have seen a significant increase in fighting coupled with tightened virtual blockade of main ports and airports leading to acute economic crises, which is exacerbating the humanitarian needs of civilians to a great extent.”
Like it or not, the West is involved. The Saudi-led coalition is fighting with Western warplanes and munitions. Western satellites guide its bombs.
Right now, far from halting the spread of Iran’s influence, the war has deepened the Houthis’ reliance on Iran, which has an easy and cheap means of tormenting the Saudis.
The next sixty days despite being promising, the war has left thousands of households without shelter or food.
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Thanks for reading!
Sam led projects in India, UK, Tanzania and Yemen as a humanitarian worker. He’s also the recipient of the “United Nations Africa Recognition Award” in 2018 for his work in the development sector.