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The civil war in Yemen. The civil war in Yemen.   (AFP or licensors)

Hinder: conflict threatens Yemen’s unity while people continue to suffer

With new developments in the civil war in Yemen, the situation has become even more complicated and dramatic, while innocent civilians continue to suffer, laments Bishop Paul Hinder of the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia (AVOSA), which comprises the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Oman and Yemen.

By Robin Gomes

The conflict in Yemen began with the 2014 takeover of the capital, Sanaa, by Iran-backed Houthi Shiite Muslim rebels who control much of the country's north.  

Since 2015, a Western-backed Saudi-led Sunni Muslim coalition that includes the UAE, allied with Yemen's internationally recognized government led by Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, has been fighting the Houthis.

Fighting in Aden in the south began earlier this month when a separatist militia backed by the UAE called for the overthrow of the Hadi government, threatening a rift in the coalition and a split in the country.

Saudi-backed government forces on Wednesday captured Aden airport from UAE-backed separatists and attacked the city's eastern suburbs, residents and officials said.

Speaking to Vatican Radio from Abu Dhabi, Bishop Hinder expressed fears that the new crack in the coalition bodes ill for the country’s unity.

Listen to Bishop Paul Hinder

Despite the rift in the coalition and the Houthi rebellion in Yemen, Bishop Hinder hopes that good sense will prevail at the end.  He also hopes that the international community will help not only in stopping to supply weapons to the parties in conflict but also by giving “constructive help” in bringing the factions to “sit around the table” and talk to heal the situation.   

He lamented that many people are hungry, sick and displaced from their homes because of the civil war.   As long as there is no peace, he said, the country cannot develop, despite being rich in manpower and natural resources. 

The fighting has killed thousands of civilians, left millions suffering from lack of food and medical care and pushed the country to the brink of famine.

According to the United Nations, the conflict in the Arab world's poorest country has spawned "the worst humanitarian crisis in the world", with about 24 million Yemenis (80% of the population) urgently needing humanitarian assistance, and with cholera still a threat.  An estimated 2500 child soldiers are deployed in Yemen’s conflict while half of the country’s girls are married before the age of 15. 

Lise Grande, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen warned last week that unless significant new funding is received in the coming weeks, food rations for 12 million people in the war-torn country will be reduced and at least 2.5 million malnourished children will be cut off from life-saving services.

28 August 2019, 15:51