A Thousand Children Die Every Week As a Result of the US-Saudi War in Yemen

Credit – VOA News

Of all the humanitarian crises unfolding throughout the world, one of the most consistently overlooked is the plight of Yemen. In March 2015, the country plunged into chaos when the Houthis, a Shi’a-led religious-political movement, overthrew the corrupt Yemeni president Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, who many felt was a puppet for US interests in the region. Following the coup, Saudi Arabia – unwilling to let the Middle East’s balance of power tip towards the Shi’a and thus Iran – instigated a war against the Houthis, a war so vicious and one-sided that it borders on genocide. More than 10,000 have been killed by the fighting, the majority of them civilians. The US, ever the faithful ally to the Saudis, has turned a blind eye to the atrocities committed there while decrying similar atrocities that have taken place in Syria. The US has also joined the fighting in Yemen on more than one occasion, most famously this past October when the Pentagon fired several cruise missiles at Houthi radar installations. The attack was said to have been retaliation for an attack on the USS Mason that the Pentagon later admitted never took place.

Now, less than two years after Saudi began its brutal bombing campaign in Yemen, the country is on the verge of collapse as the long-standing scourges of poverty and disease have only been exacerbated by the war. The NGO Save the Children warned on Tuesday that, in addition to the thousands of Yemeni civilians killed by Saudi military action, tens of thousands of children are dying as the country’s health-care system has crumbled to the point of near non-existence. Save the Children’s briefing on the topic, based on interviews with doctors and parents in Yemen, shows that child mortality rate have increased dramatically, with an additional 10,000 children dying from preventable causes every year. Though 1,219 children have been killed by the Saudis, the briefing referred to these other, preventable deaths as the “invisible casualties of Yemen’s war.”

Save the Children also notes that more than 270 health facilities have been damaged or destroyed during the conflict, many of which have been bombed directly by the Saudis – a war crime. The Saudis have bombed so much civilian infrastructure in Yemen that they have hit three different Doctors Without Borders hospitals since August of last year. Other estimates suggest that more than half of Yemen’s estimated 3,500 health facilities are now close or only partially functioning, leaving around 8 million children without access to basic, life-saving healthcare. Many of the facilities have no or little access to essential medication as the prices of most medicines surged by 300% once the war began. Edward Santiago, the NGO’s Yemen Country Director, said that “an estimated 1,000 children are dying every week from preventable killers like diarrhea, malnutrition, and respiratory tract infections.”

This tragedy, despite its enormity, continues to be ignored by international media outlets throughout the world. While most corporate media in the US is focusing on on-going feuds between Trump and Michelle Obama, the US’ role in supporting the Saudis’ genocidal war in Yemen is an unacknowledged reality. Also interesting is how the plight of Syrians in Aleppo is consistently considered newsworthy by such media agencies while those in nearby Yemen are not. It seems that the US only acknowledges the suffering of children when it serves their foreign policy agenda, and ignores the suffering of those when it does not.

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