Now it makes Front Page News

Back in September I wrote about the situation in Yemen, focusing on the plight of the hundreds and thousands of civilians who were being forced to flee their homes, families and livelihoods due to the escalating conflict. The story was almost uncovered, relegated to the back pages of the newspaper or an offhand mention on news websites. Then the overspill of violence became a direct threat to western society.

Then it made headline news. For years the situation in Yemen has been descending into lawlessness and violence, and escalating poverty has made it an attractive haven for Al Qaeda in recent months.  Suddenly Yemen has become the centre of attention in the ‘war against terrorism’. Suddenly money and resources are flooding into Yemen, but for counterterrorism operations, not to address the depth of poverty in the region.

Yemen is struggling with Al Qaeda cells, fighting Shi’ite rebels in the north and separatist violence in the south. Moreover, they are running out of oil. It is the civilians who are suffering, with camps full of displaced people facing freezing conditions, with the most vulnerable (the elderly and children) at risk of the falling temperatures. Aid agencies are struggling to meet the needs of the people, with more expected to need aid and attention as the temperatures plummet.

The situation in Yemen is dire and getting worse. Yet the help that arrives is directed not to the people that are dying, but to the security services.

Published in: on January 7, 2010 at 5:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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