A New Enemy: Yemen's First Positive Case of COVID-19 Could Be Disastrous
At first glance the Coronavirus might seem to be a welcomed change for the conflict-weary people of Yemen.
Yemen, one of the Arab world's poorest countries, has been devastated by a never ending civil war.
More Deaths Than The Coronavirus
There have been 112,000 reported fatalities since the conflict began in 2015. Many are children, many die from malnutrition, disease or air strikes. Until this week, that astounding figure is more than the global number of deaths from COVID-19. (Data Source: The US-based, Armed Conflict Location and Event Data (ACLED))
Now, the Saudi-led coalition forces which include 8 other Arab states and the support of US, UK and France, want a ceasefire because of the arrival of the first positive case of COVID-19.
Presently, if you go outside in Yemen the chances of being shot are extremely high. No one is safe, ordinary neighbourhoods have become death traps for civilian families. The conflict has caused the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. Social distancing as a survival mechanism in this war-torn state means you need only to be out-of-range of a sniper's bullets or the Saudi bombing campaigns. But how will they survive a pandemic?
Dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic here in North America or in other developed countries has been challenging but there are signs of HOPE and RECOVERY. While human behavior at store check-outs hasn’t been without incident, nobody has been shot when leaving the house in search of food. It happens in Yemen.
Now, with the arrival of the first positive case of COVID-19 in Yemen, it could mean that as perilous as the civil war has been thus far, there is a new enemy on the front lines which could be more devastating than anything this nation has ever imagined.
What Kind Of Species Are We?
It seems crazy to halt a military conflict which has been responsible for killing more than a 100,000 people so that lives can be saved from a pandemic so that they can be killed later when war resumes.
The New Normal Is Better Than No Normal
The little girl in this photo lost 10 members of her family from a Saudi air strike. What hope does she and the other civilians in Yemen have for a normal life?
Remember, as we hide in our homes away from exposure to this pandemic we can still go for a walk, go for a drive…and access food, medical supplies and financial assistance. The poor souls of Yemen cannot.
Dire Circumstances In Yemen
· Thousands more civilians have died from preventable causes, including malnutrition, disease and poor health.
· The charity Save the Children estimated that 85,000 children with severe acute malnutrition might have died between April 2015 and October 2018.
· About 80% of the population - 24 million people - need humanitarian assistance and protection.
· Some 20 million people need help securing food, according to the UN. Almost 10 million of them are considered "one step away from famine".