One mother and six newborn babies die every two hours amid ongoing conflict and deprivation

Red Cross official Basheer Omar told RT on Saturday that the humanitarian situation in Yemen is one of “unimaginable horror,” with two thirds of the population deprived of basic healthcare. Omar called on the international community not to leave the Yemeni people “alone facing their fate.”

With the armed conflict in Yemen in its eighth year, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) released a report this week stating that around 66% of Yemen’s 30.5 million people lack access to basic healthcare, and those in need of medical attention often risk death to visit the 51% of healthcare facilities still operating in the country.

The crisis has been most acutely felt by women and infants. Less than 50% of births in Yemen are attended by healthcare professionals, and one mother and six newborn babies die every two hours, the report read. Of the estimated 4.2 million people displaced in Yemen since the outbreak of civil war in 2014, 73% are women and children.

“It’s just unimaginable horror,” Omar told RT. “We are doing our best to draw the attention of the international community to the plight of the Yemeni people. We’re saying that the world should not turn a blind eye to what is happening.”

A Yemeni girl waits as others fill their jerrycans with water at a makeshift camp for the internally displaced, in the northern Hajjah province on June 4, 2022 amid severe heatwave and acute water shortage. (Photo by ESSA AHMED / AFP)

“The Yemeni people should not be left alone facing their fate,” Omar, who authored the ICRC’s report, continued.

Yemen’s civil war pits government forces against Houthi rebels. The government is aided by a Saudi-led military coalition, while Iran backs the Houthis, but has repeatedly denied arming the group. Western governments, among them the US, UK and France, have supported the Saudi coalition with weapons, training and intelligence. 

The conflict has been described by the UN as the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis,” and has resulted in the deaths of 377,000 people, more than two-thirds under the age of five, per UN figures at the end of 2021.

The Yemeni conflict is currently in a fragile truce, which was declared in April and extended last month until August.