Global Issues, Vol. 6: The Yemeni Civil War

The ongoing civil war in Yemen, a Middle Eastern country located in the Southwestern area of the Arabian Peninsula and bordering Saudi Arabia, is resulting in a severe humanitarian crisis. This Yemeni Civil War, which officially began in 2015, is often referred to as ‘the forgotten war,’ because the Saudi Arabian Coalition, a military multi-national government, is blocking the Yemen-Saudi Arabia border and preventing reporters from entering the country.

Over three million people had to leave their homes for safety and are now living in tents. Courtesy of CNN.

In an effort to support President of Yemen Mr. Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, the Saudi Arabian government created the Saudi Arabian Coalition. The Coalition is intended to protect Yemen from attacks by Al-Qaeda and the Houthis rebels. They also do not want journalists witnessing and then reporting on the devastating conditions of the growing humanitarian crisis, which includes issues such as the malnutrition that plagues Yemen, according to CNN.

The Yemeni Civil War consists of fighting between the Houthis and the Saudi Arabians. The war began in 2015 when President Hadi struggled to protect his country, as persistent Al-Qaeda and Houthi rebel attacks weakened the nation. 

This five-year-old boy is slowly starving to death and recently lost his brother to malnutrition. Courtesy of CNN.

The Houthis are members of an Islamic religious-political armed movement that is focusing on taking over Sanaa, the capital of Yemen. The Houthis, who receive support from Iran, surrounded the President’s residence and other locations, effectively placing President Hadi and his cabinet ministers under house arrest. As the Houthis gained power in Yemen, the Saudi Arabian-led military group that is focused on influencing the outcome of the Yemeni Civil War in favor of President Hadi began airstrikes to prevent the Houthis from advancing, according to

As a result of this continuing civil war, malnutrition in Yemen has increased by 57 percent and has affected over 3 million Yemenis. As of March 2017, approximately 17 million Yemenis, 60 percent of the population, lack food and an additional 7 million are fatally malnourished. One in five Yemenis are malnourished, and the majority of the affected Yemenis are children. It is estimated that 46 percent of all 5-year-olds in Yemen are underweight due to malnutrition, according to

A young boy suffering from malnutrition in Yemen sits on a bed in a malnutrition center. Courtesy of

In an interview with BBC, United Nations Resident Coordinator/Humanitarian Coordinator and United Nations Development Programme Resident Representative for the Republic of Yemen Mr. Jamie McGoldrick shared his insight on the famine in Yemen and explained that families are unable to improve their conditions. 

“Families are just not able to feed their families. Families are not able to treat their kids who are sick,” Mr. McGoldrick said. “You’ve got hospitals here who have massive numbers of kids who are born prematurely, and that’s a combination of stress and the inability for mothers to feed themselves,” according to

As a population, the Yemenis are vulnerable and dying from malnutrition because poverty is severely affecting 28 million Yemenis. Yet, the food shortage is not the result of an environmental condition, such as a drought, but rather a result of the continued violence in the Yemeni Civil War, according to CNN.

– Christine Guido, Staff Writer