There has been a lot going on in Yemen in the last years.
Big tensions and horrific war from within and from outside the nation. According to the UN, over 10,000 have died in the last 18 months. One of the biggest populations affected has been children. 320,000 children in Yemen are currently facing starvation and 2.2 million are in urgent need of assistance
I looked at so many pictures and articles on the current state in Yemen and all I can think is that this could be my family. These could be my girls. Just Google Yemen + Children if you’re prepared for your heart to break.
The sad part is that for many people this deadly war is all they might ever see or know of Yemen. In fact, Yemen has a great history and is known for it’s beautiful architecture and landscape and hospitable people. It is thought to be one of the oldest civilizations in the world.
Yemen’s amazing architecture
The capital city of Sana’a is said to have been founded by Noah’s son Shem and is one of the oldest occupied citys in the world. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of the ancient ‘skyscrapers.’ These building are 6 to 8 stories high and made of mud. They have lasted hundreds of years but now are being turned to rubble with the current bombings and airstrikes.
Yemen is home to the Sabaean Kingdom, formally known as Sheba famous for their Queen and as a center of trade in the Arabic world.
‘Skyscrapers’ in Shibam are called the Desert Manhattan. These buildings of mud have lasted 500 years in the desert.
This is the Shaharah Bridge hand built around 400 years ago to connect two villages across a deep valley.
This is Dar al-Hajar is a rock palace built in the 1930 as the summer home of an imam. From the back side, the house looks as if it’s growing out of the rock.
Nature and the people
The island of Socotra is found off the Arabian Peninsula and is filled with ‘alien’ plant life. About 30% of the vegetation can not be found anywhere else in the world.
Yemen is the first place in the world that coffee was a make as a drink and the origin of coffee trade. Because of the lack of water and the greater ease of growing qat, a legal drug grown under similar circumstances, Yemen coffee is becoming more and more scarce and thus expensive.
Football (soccer) is the primary sport of the country with both national and international leagues. a more unique sport would be Camel jumping from the Zaraniq tribe. Camels are lined up side by side 1, then 2, then 3 etc. until the last person is able to jump all of the camels without touching. Competitors train all year long. Check out the youtube videos if you really want to be impressed!
Yemen in Crisis
Yemen is known to be the poorest country in the Middle East. With the lack of media attention, this is called the ‘forgotten humanitarian crisis.’ Millions of people are displaced. They are without a home yet the ports are closed and they are trapped. Food and water are increasingly scarce and many are on the brink of starvation.
Hospitals, schools, bridges for access to aid; these civilian points make up 50% of the airstrike targets. Food is scarce. Only 6% of the nations food is grown within Yemen but now the import access to food is closed. Water is almost gone. Yemen could be the first country to run out of water completely. The healthcare system is collapsing as hospitals as bombed and cut off from power to run life saving machines. Basic medicines are not available which means that children are dying of preventable diseases and malnutrition.
Realizing the truth
This beautiful country full of such vibrant individuals is facing devastation on a minute by minute basis. It hits close to home and can’t help but think that my family could be here. And in fact they have relatives there, affected by this is ways we can’t fully realize. Pray for Yemen and their heartache.
Here are the recipes we tried out from Yemen.