Yemen - Middle East’s Forgotten War in Numbers
Air strike in Sana'a, Yemen (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Saudi Arabia led air-strikes killed over 25 children in Yemen. A horrific tragedy but which was not the first seen by the besieged nation in its five year war between Houthi rebels and an elected but exiled government backed by Sunni countries of the Middle East.

The conflict in Yemen has escalated dramatically since March 2015, when Saudi Arabia and eight other mostly Sunni Arab states - backed by the U.S., UK, and France - began air strikes against the Houthis, with the declared aim of restoring Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi's government.

However, factionalism within the warring sides has led to a stalemate but the Saudi-led coalition fears that continued success of the Houthis would give their rival regional power and Shia-majority state, Iran, a foothold in Yemen. Saudi Arabia says Iran is backing the Houthis with weapons and logistical support - a charge Tehran denies.

Why is Yemen being called the ‘Forgotten War’?

- The stalemate has produced an unrelenting humanitarian crisis, with at least 8.4 million people at risk of starvation.

- 22.2 million people - 75% of the population - in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the UN.

- More than 50,000 children are believed to have died in Yemen in 2017, according to Save the Children. Severe acute malnutrition is threatening the lives of almost 4,00,000 children under the age of five in 2018.

- The world's largest cholera outbreak – more than 1 million suspected cholera cases reported last year and more than 2,230 associated deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

- Some 15.7 million Yemenis lack access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation services, according to the ICRC.

- Some 16.4 million Yemenis lack access to adequate health care, according to the UN.

Since the start of the war, Human Rights Watch has documented 87 apparently unlawful attacks by the Saudi-led coalition, some of which may amount to war crimes, killing nearly 1,000 civilians and hitting homes, markets, hospitals, schools, and mosques. With the U.S. backing the Saudi-coalition’s attacks in Yemen, there is no answer to when this war will end.