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Yemenis present documents in order to receive food rations provided by a local charity. Photo: Hani Mohammed / AP

On Thursday, the World Health Organization issued a statement requesting that Saudi Arabia discontinue its blockades in Yemen to allow food and medical supplies in to the country. "Together, we issue another urgent appeal for the coalition to permit entry of lifesaving supplies to Yemen in response to what is now the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. The supplies...are essential to staving off disease and starvation. Without them, untold thousands of innocent victims, among them many children, will die."

Why it matters: While the Saudis said Monday they would begin opening ports to allow supplies in, NPR reports aid workers are still having difficulty getting food and medical supplies to millions of people in need. But it's not just famine and cholera that are a concern in Yemen; civilian casualties at the hands of the Saudi-led coalition have long been a concern.

Cholera
  • The U.N. reported at the beginning of the month that there have been over 2,000 deaths due to cholera since the end of April, and almost 900,000 "suspected cases" as of November 1.
  • Head of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Yemen, Alexandra Faite, said "we could reach up to 1 million [cases] the end of the year."
  • An estimated 5,000 people were becoming infected daily as of September, per CNN.
  • Save the Children's country director for Yemen, Tamer Kirolos, told CNN that cholera is "easily treatable if you have access to basic healthcare," but the war in Yemen has left hospitals destroyed, health workers unpaid, and crucial aid delivery impossible.
Famine
  • The blockade initiated by Saudi Arabia has impacted millions of people who rely solely on imported food assistance, the U.N. said.
  • Around 3.2 million people "will be driven to famine, and 150,000 malnourished children are at risk of dying in the coming months," according to Time.
  • Per the non-profit Save the Children, "malnourished children...are at least three times more likely to die if they contract cholera," and there are more than 1 million malnourished children "living in areas with high levels of infection."
Civilian casualties
  • As previously reported by Axios, while the Saudi coalition assured the U.S. it would take steps to avoid civilian casualties, there has been no supporting evidence.
  • While the U.S. is no longer involved in supporting Saudi airstrikes, the U.S. did approve a $110 billion arms deal with the Saudis earlier this year.
  • On Monday, the House passed a mostly symbolic resolution "explicitly stating that U.S. military assistance to Saudi Arabia in its war in Yemen is not authorized under legislation," per Politico. It does not, however, call for an end to support.
  • Politico also reports that there have been an estimated 10,000 civilians killed since 2015.

Go deeper

DOJ cites discrimination in lawsuit against Texas over voting districts

Attorney General Merrick Garland. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Department of Justice on Monday filed a lawsuit against Texas, alleging Republican state lawmakers discriminated against Black and Latino voters and has "again diluted the voting strength of minority Texans" when they approved new redistricting maps.

Why it matters: A DOJ assessment of the new districts found that they violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a press conference.

3 hours ago - World

Biden to warn Putin U.S. will add troops in Eastern Europe if Russia invades Ukraine

Putin meets Biden in Geneva. Photo: Peter Klaunzer - Pool/Keystone via Getty

President Biden will warn Russian President Vladimir Putin when they speak on Tuesday that if Russia invades Ukraine, the U.S. is prepared to increase its troop presence, capabilities and military exercises on NATO's "eastern flank," a senior administration official told reporters.

Why it matters: The administration believes it's increasingly likely that Putin will order an invasion.

4 hours ago - World

U.S. announces diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

An Olympic-themed sculpture in Beijing on Dec. 1. Photo: Hou Yu/China News Service via Getty Images

The U.S. announced Monday that it will not send officials to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in protest of human rights abuses committed by the Chinese Communist Party.

Why it matters: The diplomatic boycott — which won't prevent American athletes from competing — marks a major escalation between the U.S. and China amid already heightened tensions over the CCP's treatment of Muslim minorities, military threats to Taiwan and economic tariffs.