TEHRAN (defapress)- Make no mistake, the deadly coronavirus is spreading in Yemen and we should expect the number of new cases rise in the coming days and weeks.
News ID: 80839
Publish Date: 19April 2020 - 22:16
International aid agencies say the same thing, that it’s an alarming development in a war-torn country suffering the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Thirty million mostly impoverished people have lost at least half their health care facilities since neighboring Saudi Arabia and its regional and trans-regional allies, including the United States, began a devastating war against Yemen in 2015.
Yemenis and aid groups can only do this much at a time when they are already fighting mass hunger, blockade and cholera outbreak. And it’s highlighted that while world powers like the US, Britain and France struggle with the novel coronavirus themselves, they bear significant blame for making places like Yemen especially vulnerable to the new global health crisis.
Those three countries have given extensive support to the Saudis and allies like the United Arab Emirates, making themselves complicit in war crimes, according to the United Nations investigators.
As such, America has been the biggest culprit. It has helped batter Yemen’s critical infrastructure even as government experts and agencies watched the country collapse and sent hundreds of millions of dollars in US arms aid to such missions by the Saudi army.
The Saudi-led coalition, whose weapons largely come from the US and other Western producers, attacked at least many Yemeni health facilities during the war, killing and injuring medical workers and putting medical units out of commission, per a recent report by Physicians for Human Rights. Until now, the Saudi-led coalition’s planes have also been receiving US aerial refueling that will only enable longer bombing runs and more civilian deaths.
American officials say their policy will pressure the Ansarullah resistance group to surrender. But humanitarian groups view that as a poor and badly timed response to a real problem. Putting Yemeni lives in the balance through a criminal policy of blockade and bombing will not improve the humanitarian situation, nor will it defeat the resistance front. The US claims it will continue supporting life-saving activities even as it eviscerates Yemen’s first and best defense against the defining health crisis. That is simply impossible to believe.
The time has come for the United Nations and other international organizations and aid agencies to urge the member states to support Yemen, especially in the North, as its agencies and charities like the International Rescue Committee, Save the Children and Islamic Relief have begun limiting operations.
The blockaded areas affected include Yemen’s capital and biggest city, Sana’a, large refugee camps and regions that have been badly hit by the Saudi-led coalition’s indiscriminate bombings. The international civil society should urge the United States, the UK and other European arms exporters to change course and stop aiding the Saudis in the ongoing blockade. This includes giving exemptions to humanitarian aid and medical supplies amid the pandemic.
Now that the coronavirus can definitively be added to the long list of Yemen’s problems, the civil society should be even more concerned about the consequences of US policy there. Civilians across the country have some of the lowest levels of immunity and highest levels of acute vulnerability in the world. Thousands of people who become infected are likely to become severely ill than anywhere else in the world.
One immediate way to give the Yemenis a chance to fight the deadly disease would be to end the conflict and lift the inhumane and illegal blockade. For a start, the present suspension of fighting should be respected by the Saudis fully and it should continue until the country beats the virus and returns to normal.