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Taiz has been under siege by rebels for months, cut off from humanitarian aid, with no electricity, no schools, and where the vast majority of health facilities have closed. We were shocked to hear about the desperate situation in Taiz, which bears a worrying resemblance to Madaya in Syria.
But the world is watching Syria while the crisis in Yemen is largely ignored. The crisis is having a devastating effect on the whole country. The food situation is particularly concerning, with Millions cannot access safe water or basic healthcare and 1. The Yemeni diaspora described the situation as collective punishment, with the population being punished for the actions of the rebels. But who are the rebels and how did this crisis happen?
Yemen has a long history of conflict and instability, which had left it the poorest country in the Middle East. It was meant to be a short sharp campaign by the coalition, yet has now dragged on for 10 months, leaving the country in tatters. Civilians are paying a high price for this war. The UN high commissioner for human rights said on 5 January that there had been more than 8, civilian casualties since March, including 2, killed.
Civilians account for half the deaths in this conflict, many from the reported use of explosive weapons in populated areas and attacks on hospitals and schools. The population have been living under the constant bombardment of aerial attacks and ground fighting. Reports of violations of international humanitarian law have been no less constant. As a result, hospitals are closing at an alarming rate and industry has come to a standstill.
We heard from Yemeni businessmen that huge numbers of businesses have shut down, leading to high unemployment. Prices are skyrocketing at the same time as people are losing their incomes. Peace talks held in Switzerland last month failed when the ceasefire was broken repeatedly by both the Houthis and the Saudi-led coalition.