| 23 February 2024, Friday |

Drought, floods push Yemenis to breaking point

The International Committee of The Red Cross (ICRC) warned on Tuesday that the climate crisis is pushing Yemeni communities already reeling from almost eight years of conflict to the breaking point.


Yemeni farmers, relying on agriculture and livestock for their survival, have seen their livelihoods destroyed by extreme drought, devastating flooding and grinding conflict, making it harder for them to make ends meet, ICRC said in a report.


This comes at a time when the number of Houthi mine victims in agricultural areas has risen to more than 300 civilians over the past months, according to UN reports.


ICRC said flooding in recent months has had a devastating impact on the Yemeni agricultural sector, destroying crops and moving explosive remnants of war to agricultural areas.


“With Yemen facing a devastating food security crisis, this will only further exacerbate an already alarming situation,” it said.


The Committee revealed that currently, approximately 19 million people in Yemen are unable to meet their daily food needs countrywide, compared to 16.2 million last year.


“That’s about 63% of the total population, up from 53% last year,” it affirmed.


Also, the climate crisis and conflict are forcing more families to abandon their homes, ICRC said, adding that over 3.3 million people in Yemen are currently estimated to be displaced from their homes.


“It is not uncommon for people to flee their homes seeking safety from conflict to then leave again because the ground cannot be farmed,” the Committee said.


In some areas, unexploded ordnances lurk in what should be farmland, making it dangerous for people to attend to their land.


Also, water scarcity across Yemen, exacerbated by the protracted conflict and several years of droughts, has limited access to safe water for 17.8 million people, the Committee said.


It warned that the droughts have forced an increasing number of farmers to abandon their profession.


ICRC’s report also showed that Yemen, like many conflict-affected countries, is disproportionately impacted by climate change and it called for greater support to help people cope with and adapt to climate change in countries like Yemen.


The report said ICRC works in close collaboration with Yemen Red Crescent Society to support the most vulnerable rural communities to sustain their livelihoods.


In 2021, more than 112,500 livestock keepers benefited from livestock vaccination and treatment campaigns, while in 2022 thousands of farmers have benefitted from multi-purpose cash grants, micro-economic initiative projects or coffee or wheat seed donations.


Meanwhile, the United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs revealed that civilian casualties increased by 20 percent since the April 2 truce due to Houthi landmines compared to the previous six months.


Until September 2022, landmines and unexploded ordnance killed 95 people and injured 248 in Yemen, the UN said.


Mines mostly affect frontline areas in Hodeidah and Jawf governorates.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat