The pictures of 18-year-old Saida Ahmad Baghili’s abnormally weak and frail body shocked the world and turned the attention on the humanitarian crisis across war-torn Yemen.
Around two years of civil war between a Saudi-led Arab coalition and the Iran-allied Houthi movement has aggravated the plight of Baghili’s family and other millions of people in Yemen.
With weeks of specialist hospital care in the capital Sanaa, Saida can barely speak and smile now though she finds eating more difficult still. Her condition which was bad several years before war had damaged her throat, she could barely stand or keep her eyes open when she was first brought for care at the hospital in October. According to the doctor she was a case of severe malnutrition with fragile bones. She is only on liquid medical food.
In her parched village on the Red Sea coast, the residents have struggled for years in poverty to even have basic food on their table. However, even before the onset of the conflict in March 2015, Yemen has been suffering a major catastrophe with widespread hunger which was brought on by decades of poverty, poor governance, lack of rule of law etc.
According to the United Nations, nearly half of Yemen’s 28 million people are “food insecure”, and about 7 million people do not even know where they will get their next meal.