SHAFAQNA – If Yemen continues to occupy the headlines, few media have bothered look beyond Saudi Arabia’s punitive narrative to recognise the sheer breadth and depth of this one nation’s humanitarian catastrophe.
Brought to its knees by seven months of war, Yemenis has to contend with horrific living conditions, abandoned and shunned by the international community as officials argued politics and power-sharing agreement while millions stand destitute.
As their country lies an institutional and economic wasteland, Yemenis have little to no means to meet their families’ needs. Poverty in Yemen is not a choice, it is not the tale of a people who because of a lack of will or ambition allowed themselves to sink in the black hole of misery.
Poverty in Yemen is an engineered plague, one which was brought upon by years of latent colonialism and a violent military campaign.
Still Yemenis are fighting back, however they can and regardless of the many adversities they now stand before them. Determined not to allow poverty to define them, many Yemenis have chosen to lean on each other to better sustain the hardship of war.
It is from such resilience and national pride that the Mona Relief Organization was born. The product of generosity and fierce determination before the world’s silence, this group of activist is working around the clock to beat desperation, war and hopelessness.
And while donations do not yet match Yemen’s growing needs – not by a mile, this organization is marching on, offering support and relief to those most vulnerable, without bias or agenda.
“Winter is coming and it means that temperatures will drop – mostly in North Yemen, where the mountainous climate means that winters are often harsh. People will need blankets, shelter, food, clean water, and medicine. With the blockade it has been very difficult for aid workers to supplies IPDs and other war refugees. Entire areas remain out of reach because of security issues and thousands of people remain stranded. This is where our people operate – where no others wish or dare to go. We work with the community to provide people with some form of humanitarian relief … But because we have refused to bow to international pressure by relying on Saudi Arabia to provide us with funds, we have had to call on the public to support us,” said Dr Riaz Karim in exclusive comments to Shafaqna.
He added, “Yemen was thrown in the midst of a war and it is the world’s responsibility to offer this nation the humanitarian relief it deserves and needs. THe realities of politics have meant that people have been held hostage – aid is being used as a weapon of wars by those most powerful. This of course is contrary to international law, and basic human decency. Our organization is the only organization at the moment which has decided to operate independently, and I must say often against the flow. We don’t care about politics, we care about people and we will continue to help people.”
By Catherine Shakdam exclusively for Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies