A few days ago, the Islamic world celebrated the blessed Eid Al-Adha, which is the largest free-feeding festival for the poor and needy around the world.
Unfortunately, Yemenis were not among the Muslims who enjoyed Eid like the rest of the Muslims around the world, due to the war led by the Saudi regime against the Houthis.
In the Yemeni city of Taiz, which is besieged by the Houthis, Yemeni citizen Fadel Al-Sibai told one of the international media that he was unable to deliver the meat of sheep and cows due to the extreme poverty of people there, and instead, he was only able to give the meat of two chickens on Eid.
The presence of the poor everywhere is normal, but poverty is the dominant feature of the people of the region. Here lies the tragedy. Fadel is not the only one who has been deprived of eating goats, sheep, camels, and cows, which are unattainable meat in a country where the population is victims of a grinding war described by the United Nations as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis that has left tens of thousands dead, millions displaced, and destroyed infrastructure.
Fadel earns barely two dollars a day, which is the average income of most of the city’s residents, who, like many citizens in Yemen, live in abject poverty, so it was very logical for many to leave the animal market in Taiz empty-handed due to the high prices, as the Yemeni riyal fell under government control.
“The situation is very bad,” Fadel told AFP. “I went to the market to buy animals for sacrifice, and everything was very expensive. I could not buy anything… Sheep and goats are sold for between 150,000 and 200,000 riyals (150 to $200), I had to buy chicken for the day of Eid. One chicken costs 20,000 Yemeni riyals, and this is what I can buy.”
Regarding the new clothes that children are waiting for Eid to buy, Fadel said, “Even the clothes are very expensive, and I can’t buy any of them. Life is very difficult.”
It is worth noting that the Yemeni riyal collapsed dramatically this month, and recorded its lowest level in more than seven years against the dollar, as one dollar is about 1,000 Yemeni riyals.
The city of Taiz, besieged since 2015, is one of the areas worst affected by the conflict that erupted in 2014. The city, surrounded by mountains and home to some 600,000 people, was brutally bombed by the Houthis, who were supposed to be eliminated by the Saudi intervention in 2015, but, unfortunately, the Saudi attacks contributed to increasing the suffering of Yemenis and fueling the conflict.
There are now nearly five million people in Yemen on the brink of famine, while about 50,000 people in Yemen are living in famine-like conditions — the first time such critical levels of hunger have been reached in two years, according to the United Nations World Food Programme.
The reason for this is because food prices have increased 200% compared to pre-war levels, leaving about 80% of Yemenis now dependent on international food aid, according to the World Food Programme. However, most of these aids do not reach all areas as Houthis prevent access to many areas under their control.
We appeal to all international bodies, decision-makers around the world, and the UN Security Council to find urgent solutions to save Yemenis from the famine due to war civilians are paying for alone.
We call for urgent investigations to be opened into all crimes committed against civilians in Yemen, to refer all those responsible to trials, and to discuss ways to compensate victims for the losses they incurred due to the indiscriminate bombing of the parties to the conflict.