The Saudi-US war on Yemen is killing 130 Children a Day & Other Bleak Statistics

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

The Saudi-led coalition is waging total war on Yemen in a bid to defeat the guerrilla group, the Houthis or the Helpers of God. The Houthis took power in Sanaa in fall of 2014 and consolidated it in early 2015. By March-April, Saudi Arabia’s Muhammad Bin Salman, now the crown prince, had ordered air strikes on the country that have continued to this day. These strikes have been indiscriminate, hitting schools, hospitals, apartment buildings and key civilian infrastructure like ports, bridges and roads. Any one of these strikes is a war crime. In the aggregate they become crimes against humanity.

The Houthi gang is also guilty of war crimes, and of severe human rights violations and cannot be held blameless in the unfolding devastation of Yemen. But the Saudi-led war and the various forms of blockade Riyadh is imposing on Yemen are far worse. The Houthis are a radical group deriving from Zaydi tribes in Saadeh and other towns in rural north Yemen, who as Shiites deeply resent Saudi proselytizing for hard line Salafi Sunnism in Yemen. Houthi leaders have vowed to overthrow the House of Saud and have tried to imitate the rhetorical style of Hizbullah in Lebanon. However, Houthis are a local indigenous protest movement in Yemen, and are not a proxy for Iran. Houthi weaponry is mostly American and Iran does not give them much money or other support. The Saudis try to blame Iran for the Houthi revolt in order to shift blame from their own aggressive policies.

These political considerations should not allow us to forget what is being done to Yemen children.

Save the Children writes,

“Severe acute malnutrition is the most extreme and dangerous form of undernutrition. Symptoms include jutting ribs and loose skin with visible wasting of body tissue, or swelling in the ankles, feet and belly as blood vessels leak fluid under the skin.”

* 130 children die every day in Yemen from extreme hunger and disease–one child every 18 minutes. The Saudi blockade on ports such as Hudeida will increase this death toll.

*This year, at least 50,000 children are expected to die as indirect casualties of the war (if food cannot be off-loaded at ports, and bridges are knocked out, children will die of malnutrition).

* Nearly 400,000 children will need to be treated for severe acute malnutrition in Yemen in the next twelve months. Aid organizations are being actively interfered with in this work by the Saudi blockade and bombing strikes.

* As a result of the Saudi blockade, aid organizations like Save the Children will be out of food and medicine stocks in the next two to three months.

* If left untreated some 20 to 30 percent of children with severe acute malnutrition will perish every year.

* It should be remembered that famines usually do not kill people because there is no food at all. What happens is that the food becomes too expensive for the poor to purchase. This situation now obtains in Yemen and obviously the Saudi blockade, by obese princes who are obviously getting three square meals a day, is driving up the price of food for Yemenis.

* A shocking 10,000 children are likely to die in Taiz district and another 10,000 in the Hodeidah district this year.

The aid organization concludes:

“Save the Children currently has five shipping containers full of life-saving food for sick and malnourished children stuck in Aden because of road closures. Our staff cannot reach communities to provide life-saving care and much-needed supplies and relief workers cannot enter the country. Essential medicines, fuel and food stocks could start running out in a matter of weeks. It’s utterly unacceptable to let children die of neglect and a lack of political will. Without urgent action the future looks bleak.”


Related video:

Yemen: Millions of children and families are on the brink of starvation | UNICEF

11 Responses

  1. Unfortunatly we know who supports the Saudis, it’s the same crowd who thought that “killing” 500’000 children was worth it.

  2. Thank you for highlighting the human cost of MbS’s disastrous war in Yemen, and to show us that the war in Yemen is not all about politics but it inflicts a very heavy cost on the civilians, especially the children. In fact, what is going on in Yemen is a war crime and the international community cannot remain silent any longer and should call for an immediate end to the conflict and the prosecution of the perpetrators.

    The conflict in Yemen has already give rise to the worst case of cholera in recent history, with more than 928,000 people who contracted cholera in 2017, apparently the fastest outbreak in recorded history. A U.N. panel of experts reported last week that Saudi Arabia is purposefully obstructing the delivery of humanitarian aid into Yemen. link to

    Whenever the issue of Yemen is raised by the media, reference is always made to Iran-backed Houthis. The Iranian government is responsible for many wrong policies, but Yemen is not one of them. As you point out, Iran might have provided some support for the Houthis, but their weapons including their missiles belonged to Yemen’s military forces which were taken over by the Houthis and the former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. In fact, Iran strongly advised the Houthis against marching to Sanaa.
    It is really time to get serious about the disaster in Yemen and not to sacrifice all our humanitarian and democratic values for the sake of selling more arms to a spoilt and arrogant Saudi prince.

  3. This is a sad situation. As always, it is the innocent that pay the price for these war games. This one a proxy war.
    Again, we have to wonder why the US is selling these deadly weapons to Saudi Arabia, that conspires with Israel to play their war games with Iran….at a terrible cost. Nations that manufacture weapons have a lot to answer for, especially for the deaths of so many children.

  4. The US is supplying weapons and support for these crimes against humanity by Saudi-Arabia. All weapons deliveries and all support of any kind for this despicable regime in Saudi-Arabia should be cut off immediately. Unfortunately this unwavering, blind support for this odious regime goes way back through the administrations of Obama, Bush, Clinton, etc. The Saudi Lobby in Washington is almost as strong as the Israel Lobby, and when, as now, the two join in joint action, our craven politicians find the pressure (and the money) irresistible. But then again they did give the idiot Trump a shiny medal and a nice party, so –

  5. Saudi Arabia’s actions are in contravention of international and human rights laws. Bombing civilian areas is against international law, and so is bombing areas with cluster munitions. The blockade is also against international law.

    Saudi Arabia does not believe much of international law, which really should make them a rogue nation. Much of Saudi Arabia’s actions are also against Islamic law, which they state is the country’s sole mode of governance. Islamic law forbids harming civilians, which Saudi Arabia routinely disobeys in Yemen and elsewhere. It also does not allow Saudi Arabia to blockade Yemen. Under Islamic law, civilians must be allowed safe passage away from the war-zone: a blockade prevents such actions. As such, Saudi Arabia is acting in contravention of not just international and human rights law, but also Islamic law.

    Thank you for this important post. Our government should provide support to transnational agreements and protocols that would stop such actions from taking place. Otherwise, civilians in these countries will continue to suffer the these indignities imposed upon them by barbaric elites, who know that they will never have to pay for their crimes in courts.

  6. We hear almost nothing of Yemen over here in the UK from the media or newsprint outlets. The horror that is unfolding there is equal to if not worse than the hell that was Syria just a few short months ago. However, we had wall to wall saturation with news and graphic pictures of injured children and people in Syria, especially when they were injured by Syrian military munitions. Are dead and hideously maimed children in Yemen not just as important as those in Syria? May I respectfully suggest that maybe as its our friend and ally Saudi Arabia that’s doing the killing and slaughter of the innocent, we are turning a blind eye.

  7. That the Saudis are rudderless is no secret. But let’s not forget the peace prize winner who turned Libya to a hub of slavery and Yemen to a sea of blood and tears.

  8. There is, alas, nothing we can do about it. There is no authority to compel adherence to humanitarian ideals. The UN might have been but it was born in the misguided euphoria of 1945 when all believed that following the horrors of WWII the world would have had enough of war, the persecuted people of Israel would build a shining example of what a nation should be in the forthcoming era of peace and brotherhood, and many other such Utopian dreams. The UN was to to promote international cooperation and to create and maintain international order. It was given no teeth, Why would it need them? Now the dreams have turned to dust and it badly needs them those who could provide them will never do so being fearful that they will turn and bite them or their friends. Congress has even threatened to close the PLO’s Washington office unless:

    …the Palestinians have officially ceased to be members of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and have withdrawn from the Rome Statute; any preliminary examination or ongoing investigation against Israel, the Government of Israel, the Israeli Armed or Security Forces, or any Israel national initiated by, or on behalf of, the Palestinians, or referred to the ICC by a state party, the United Nations Security Council, or a Pre-Trial Chamber has been withdrawn and terminated…

    link to

    What chance for starving Yemeni children in such a world?

    • The US could suspend refueling missions of Saudi military flights. That would almost certainly slow down the pace of Saudi onslaught. The US is actively supporting Saudi operations in Yemen. We could stop any tactical, technical, logistical and material support of Saudi actions in Yemen. If an American-built Saudi plane were to need fixing, that’s it–we’re not fixing it. If the US were to decide to cease supporting Saudi actions in Yemen, Saudi actions in Yemen would have to come to a close.

      We could also cease selling any munitions, arms or defense technology to Saudi Arabia.

  9. Muhammed ben Salman
    Has bombed the hell out of Yeman
    He has no excuses
    For his murderous abuses
    Save for blaming it all on Iran

Comments are closed.