SANA’A — Yemen is a divided war zone. Since 2015, conflict between rebel forces and opposing Saudi air campaigns have left more than 7,600 dead and over 70 percent of the population in need of aid. The European Union (EU) recently committed to aid Yemeni people caught in the conflict, with oversight from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Deadly Power Struggles
The war has its beginnings in the rocky transition of power from former President Ali Abdullah Saleh to current President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi in 2011.
Houthi rebels took advantage of the new president’s shaky position and captured the northern province of Saada and its neighboring areas. The movement later captured the capital in 2014, and attempted to seize the whole country in March 2015.
Saudi Arabia became involved to bring control back to the President Hadi’s government and to oppose the group, which they believed were backed by the regional Shiite power of Iran. Supported by Western intelligence operations, they unsuccessfully attempted to gain military advantages, killing masses of civilians in the crossfire of dangerous airstrikes in the process. Little military gains have since been gained by either side.
The EU and UNDP Partner to Aid Yemen
The EU has committed EUR 25 million, or $27 million, to support areas devastated by the clash. Implemented by UNDP, the project will help vulnerable households earn supplementary income to buy food and essentials, while also funding healthcare facilities and psychosocial treatment.
The hoped for results will be that 42,000 people will receive compensation for helping to rebuild almost 45 health facilities, indirectly helping up to 250,000 people. The donation will also be used to invest in solar energy for at least 80 health facilities, overriding concerns of fuel shortages and electricity cuts. They will additionally mobilize local networks to identify children and adults in need of psychological support and treatment.
The EU and UNDP will work with the 21 governorates and single municipality in Yemen. For over two years, UNDP has been working in communities affected by the conflict, with projects to increase the production of food, support small businesses, train women to work as health and nutrition professionals and teach NGO staff about working in conflict zones.
Supporting The Crisis in Yemen
In the words of the UNDP Director in Yemen, Auke Lootsma, this recent donation will strengthen efforts more, as “Yemen is among the largest forgotten crises in world, with a looming famine and devastating cholera outbreak. With the economy and state institutions collapsing, the population needs all the support they can get.” The contribution of the European Union and United Nations Development Programme are important beginnings to help Yemeni people start the process of restoring their war-torn country.
– Zar-Tashiya Khan