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Hunger and Weariness in War-ravaged Yemen

Hunger and Weariness in War-ravaged Yemen

Grief washed over Afra* from Yemen as she prepared a meal for her four children. She knew the cooked leaves and roots would hardly quiet their hunger, but what choice did she have? She was a widow, her husband killed in 2021 by a stray artillery shell. Afra had sold what she could to provide for her family, but now she was out of options, scavenging the mountains for wild plants to feed her children.

Then one day a visitor came to Afra’s door. She didn’t know the man, but she could see mercy in his eyes. And he had food for her family! Could it be the miracle she was longing for? This man now delivers food to Afra’s family every other month. Although it doesn’t meet all their food needs, it provides nourishment and allows Afra to channel some money toward her children’s schooling. To this Yemeni mother, each food delivery feels like a miracle.

Millions of people across Yemen share Afra’s story of grief, despair, and hunger. They are a people weary of war. Yemen has been locked in civil war since 2015, with neighboring countries backing opposite sides. As areas across the country become battlegrounds, Yemenis are forced from home and pushed toward starvation. More than 4 million people in Yemen are displaced, 80 percent being women and children.

Approximately half of Yemen’s population faces severe hunger levels.1 The country’s shattered economy gives limited opportunities for people to earn an income and feed their families. Our contacts meet fathers who once worked in welding, construction, and engineering, but now have no way to provide. For widowed mothers, this struggle is even harder. One mother said, “I stand outside restaurants, waiting for people to finish their meals, collecting leftovers . . . to bring back home for the children to eat.”

Malnutrition, coupled with a lack of clean, accessible water, leaves Yemenis susceptible to diseases like cholera and measles. With limited health facilities and many people unable to afford treatment, these conditions can quickly become life-threatening.

In the past few years, peace talks, truces, and prisoner swaps brought fragile hopes of peace in Yemen. But since war broke out between Israel and Gaza in October, tension in the country has increased. As a sign of support for Hamas, the Houthis, a militant group in Yemen, attacked numerous sea vessels traveling through the Red Sea. This is one of the world’s most vital shipping routes. Western powers like the U.S. and U.K. retaliated with airstrikes on multiple Yemeni cities.

These attacks leave uneasy questions: Will peace efforts continue? What will 2024 hold for Yemen? We don’t know. But we do know that the attacks created new challenges. Shipping prices are skyrocketing, making food prices even higher in Yemen since most of the country’s food products are imported.

But as He does in situations all across the world, God is using Yemen’s unrest and needs to open doors. We work through contacts to provide food, water systems, kits, clothing, adult briefs, and other aid in Yemen, giving struggling Yemenis an opportunity to see Christ’s love in action. After receiving aid, one recipient stared in amazement at the contact and said, “I can say God is here. No one [human] cares about us.”

Our estimated 2024 funding need for Yemen is $2.5 million. If you would like to help, your support will be a blessing! Monthly Food for War-Torn Yemen sponsorships provide an especially critical foundation of support for our ongoing work in Yemen. A recipient of food begged the distributor to pass on his prayers to those who helped his family. “Rest assured,” he said, “we will never forget those who have assisted us . . .” God bless you!

*Name changed to protect identity.
1 United Nations

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