What's happening in Yemen is being called the world's worst present day humanitarian crisis, and it started long before the coronavirus pandemic ever appeared on the scene. A civil war, that was sparked by a change in leadership in 2011 but began to rage fully in 2015, has claimed at least 100,000 lives, an estimated 12,000 of which were innocent civilian men, women, and children.
And those are just the casualties of war, like air strikes and gun fire, perpetrated by weapons that the United States has sold to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia recognizes the current president of Yemen, President Hadi, and has been supporting his claim to the title by battling with the Houthis, an armed political movement who are loyal to former President Saleh and who have taken control of much of Yemen.
The United States has a great deal of leverage here. Trump has referred to the weapons we provide Saudi Arabia as "incredible equipment," boasting that these arms sales have created economic and job growth for the U.S. But are money and jobs more important than innocent lives? Not even when an American journalist was murdered and dismembered in a Saudi Arabian consulate did Trump consider withdrawing arms sales to achieve justice. He clearly cannot be trusted to prioritize human lives over his bottom line.
A group of U.S. senators have asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to step up and lead the United States to use its enormous sway to broker a ceasefire and peace talks, bringing conflict to an end before millions more lives are lost! Sign the petition to show your support!
Millions more in Yemen have survived the conflict, but are dying from malnutrition, disease, and a lack of access to healthcare. Clean water is scarce, and the country has been battling a deadly cholera outbreak since 2016. Children, 2 million of whom are intensely malnourished, often rummage through war rubble for scraps of food. All in all, it is estimated that 80% of the population needs humanitarian aid immediately. That is roughly 24 million people, on the brink of death because their basic human needs are not being met. They have no control over the war raging in their country -- they just want to survive.
On top of all of this, the UN has reported that the COVID-19 death rate could soon surpass all of these numbers, simultaneously announcing that it is quickly running out of funds to aid Yemen. This conflict has already cost too many human lives. As the Middle East's poorest country already bogged down by violence, sickness, and a lack of resources, Yemen does not stand a chance in fighting a pandemic that has crippled the some of the world's most affluent nations.
The United States is the only country with the power and leverage in Saudi Arabia capable of bringing a ceasefire to pass. Millions of lives depends on it. Tell Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to use this leverage to facilitate peace talks and an end to this horrifically bloody conflict in Yemen!