A new UN report projects that Yemen is on course to become the world’s poorest country if Saudi Arabia’s aggression against the impoverished nation continues.
Poverty in Yemen has jumped from 47 percent of the population in 2014 to a projected 75 percent by the end of 2019 because of the war, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) said in the report.
“If fighting continues through 2022, Yemen will rank the poorest country in the world, with 79 percent of the population living under the poverty line and 65 percent classified as extremely poor,” the report said.
Separately, UNDP Yemen’s resident representative, Auke Lootsma, said in a statement that “the ongoing crisis is threatening to make Yemen’s population the poorest in the world — a title the already suffering country cannot afford.”
“Not only has the war made Yemen the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, it has plunged it into a harrowing development crisis too,” he added.
Last month, a report produced for UNDP by the Pardee Center for International Futures at the University of Denver said that in the absence of the Saudi aggression Yemen could have made progress toward achieving the global anti-poverty framework agreed in 2015 with a target date of 2030.
“The war has already made Yemen the largest humanitarian disaster in the world, and now threatens to make its population the poorest in the world,” said UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner at the time.
“UNDP’s work with support from international partners and as part of the UN’s overall engagement is focused on helping Yemenis keep institutions and businesses running to ensure they have the solid footing needed to recover when peace returns.”
In recent months, United Nations agencies, NGOs, and international partners have been seeking to expand urgent humanitarian and development work across Yemen to save lives, meet humanitarian needs, and support resilience in the country as UN-backed peace talks continue.
The Houthi Ansarullah movement, which has been defending the country against the Saudi-led invasion for four years, has recently offered to halt its retaliatory attacks if the kingdom ends its bombing campaign against Yemen.
Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former president Abd Rabbuh Manour Hadi back to power and crushing the Houthi Ansarullah movement.
The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 91,000 lives over the past four and a half years.
The war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN says over 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme levels of hunger.