In an empty kitchen, Yemeni family struggles with hunger

In an empty kitchen, Yemeni family struggles with hunger
The United Nations says 19 million people — or 60 percent of the Yemeni population — are experiencing what it calls acute food insecurity. (Reuters)
Short Url
Updated 06 October 2022

In an empty kitchen, Yemeni family struggles with hunger

In an empty kitchen, Yemeni family struggles with hunger
  • Eight years of conflict have devastated the economy and left millions of people across Yemen struggling to feed themselves

SANAA: In a bare kitchen in her house in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, Umm Zakaria Al-Sharaabi prepares for a daily challenge — creating a meal out of virtually nothing to feed the 18 people in her extended family.
“Today we have yet to make lunch,” she says, gesturing at an empty stove. In the corner, a bag of bread and a few containers of spices are the only scraps of food to hand. “Every day is like this... We have nothing in the kitchen, we have nothing.”
Eight years of conflict have devastated the economy and left millions of people across Yemen struggling to feed themselves.
A truce agreed in April offered some respite but the United Nations says the number of families who lack adequate food has continued to grow since then. The truce expired on Monday without agreement on another extension.
Umm Zakaria’s mother-in-law Umm Hani, who shares their home in central Sanaa, says before the war they lived modestly but well on her husband’s salary from his job at the education ministry and money she earned as a maid.
“Our situation was okay. I used to work for a family continuously and my son... worked and his brother too.”
“Nowadays, I swear, we can’t afford flour,” Umm Hani says. “Look at the kitchen and everywhere. Even flour, simply flour, we don’t have it. And we don’t have rice...”
“We have a little bread I’ve just brought from the bakery. We’ll eat it with tomato sauce or anything available.”
The Sharaabi household’s struggles are shared across Yemen, both in the main populated areas like Sanaa controlled by the Iran-aligned Houthis, and the rest of the country held by forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition. Both sides have come under international pressure to reach a peace deal.
The United Nations says 19 million people — or 60 percent of the population — are experiencing what it calls acute food insecurity, where shortages put people’s lives or livelihoods in immediate danger.
Aid from donor states meets only half of the country’s need, according to World Food Programme (WFP) which is running the largest operation in Yemen it has ever undertaken anywhere, supplying flour, pulses, oil, sugar and vouchers for food.
Families like the Sharaabis have battled on. Those who could, sold assets or family heirlooms, even parcels of land. Others have been supported by neighbors or relatives overseas.
“The Yemen people’s coping capacity in this time of conflict is enormous,” WFP’s Yemen representative Richard Ragan said. “(They are) doing all the coping things that someone does in a time of crisis. But it’s not easy. I think many people in the country are at a breaking point.”
Although the truce reduced the violence, Ragan said WFP was still building stockpiles and tackling the impact of fuel shortages. “When you are feeding almost 20 million people on a regular basis, it’s very hard to turn that on and off,” he said.
In the second half of the year, the number of people whose food insecurity was deemed an emergency has risen by a quarter to 7.14 million while those “in catastrophe” rose five-fold to 161,000, according to UN estimates.
“The biggest challenge ... is that the inadequacy of the aid compared to the number of those in need continues to increase daily,” said Nabil Al-Qadasi of the Houthi-run School Feeding and Humanitarian Relief Project, which delivers food to 3 million people in 12 of Yemen’s 21 provinces.
In Sanaa’s northern district of Geraf, Amal Hasan and her husband and three children live in a small single room where they moved after their previous rent became too high.
Hasan travels to work as a maid in another part of the capital, spending most of her income on transport and saving just 1,000 to 2,000 riyals ($1.7 to $3.4) each time.
She is looking for a home with affordable rent, but says her day is dominated instead by worry about feeding her family.
“When they finish breakfast I start thinking of where to get them lunch. After that, I worry about dinner. I had never had the chance to think about how to build their future or educate them because we could barely manage to think of their food.”


Iran rapper arrested over protests risks death penalty: family

Iran rapper arrested over protests risks death penalty: family
Updated 13 sec ago

Iran rapper arrested over protests risks death penalty: family

Iran rapper arrested over protests risks death penalty: family
PARIS: The family of an Iranian rapper detained for supporting protests over Mahsa Amini’s death said his life was at risk after he went on trial behind closed doors on Saturday.
Iran has intensified a crackdown on the protests sparked by the September 16 death of Amini after her arrest in Tehran for allegedly breaching the country’s strict dress code for women.
Toomaj Salehi, well known on Iran’s rap scene, was arrested late last month after denouncing the regime and showing support for the protests, human rights groups said.
“Dissident rapper Toomaj Salehi had the first day of his so-called ‘trial’ today in Tehran without a lawyer of his choice,” the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran said on Twitter.
His family tweeted that his “life is at serious risk right now” as he faced charges of “enmity against God” and “corruption on earth” — sharia-related charges that are capital crimes in the Islamic republic.
Salehi had disappeared at the end of October before appearing in a video published on November 2 by Iran’s state-run media.
The video claimed to show the first images of Salehi after his arrest.
It depicted a tattooed man in a sleeveless black T-shirt sitting on the ground, wearing a blindfold and looking bloodied and bruised.
The man says: “I am Toomaj Salehi. I said I made a mistake. I said... that you should run. I didn’t mean you.”
Activists condemned the recording as a forced confession extracted under duress.
Salehi is one of a number of prominent figures to be arrested in a mass crackdown that has seen dozens of journalists, lawyers, civil society and cultural figures arrested.
His detention came shortly after he gave an interview highly critical of the regime to the Canadian Broadcasting Cooperation.
“You are dealing with a mafia that is ready to kill the entire nation... in order to keep its power, money and weapons,” Salehi said in the interview.
Iranian state media claim Salehi was arrested while trying to cross one of the country’s western borders, but his family have denied this saying he was in the southwestern province of Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari at the time.

UN rights council to hold urgent session on Iran

UN rights council to hold urgent session on Iran
Updated 13 sec ago

UN rights council to hold urgent session on Iran

UN rights council to hold urgent session on Iran
  • Decision comes after the German and Icelandic ambassadors to the UN in Geneva submitted a request for such a meeting late on Friday
  • So far, 44 countries, including 17 Council members, have backed the call
GENEVA: The UN Human Rights Council announced on Monday it would hold an urgent session this month on Iran, where a brutal crackdown on mass protests has left hundreds dead.
The United Nations’ highest rights body said a special session on “the deteriorating human rights situation” in Iran would be held on November 24.
The decision comes after the German and Icelandic ambassadors to the UN in Geneva submitted a request for such a meeting late on Friday.
The support of 16 of the Human Rights Council’s 47 members — more than a third — is required to convene a special session outside the three regular ones held each year.
So far, 44 countries, including 17 Council members, have backed the call, the body said.
The request follows eight weeks of protests in Iran, sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, after she was arrested for an alleged breach of the country’s strict dress rules for women based on Islamic sharia law.
At least 326 people have been killed in the crackdown on the protests, according to the Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights (IHR), as the demonstrations have grown into a broad movement against the theocracy that has ruled Iran since the 1979 fall of the shah.
Thousands of peaceful protesters have also been arrested, according to UN rights experts, including many women, children, lawyers, activists and journalists.

Syrian Kurds stop operations against Daesh

Syrian Kurds stop operations against Daesh
Updated 26 November 2022

Syrian Kurds stop operations against Daesh

Syrian Kurds stop operations against Daesh
  • Over the past week, Turkey launched a wave of airstrikes on suspected Kurdish rebels hiding in neighboring Syria and Iraq
BEIRUT: The commander of the main US-backed Kurdish-led force in Syria said Saturday they have halted operations against the Daesh group due to Turkish attacks on northern Syria over the past week.
Mazloum Abdi of the Syrian Democratic Forces told reporters that after nearly a week of Turkish airstrikes on northern Syria, Ankara is now preparing for a ground offensive. He said Turkey-backed opposition fighters are getting ready to take part in the operations.
Abdi added that Turkish strikes over the past week have caused severe damage to the region’s infrastructure.
Abdi said Turkey is taking advantage of the deadly Nov. 13 bombing in Istanbul that Ankara blames on Kurdish groups. Kurdish organizations have denied any involvement in the Istanbul attack that killed six and wounded dozens.
Over the past week, Turkey launched a wave of airstrikes on suspected Kurdish rebels hiding in neighboring Syria and Iraq in retaliation for the Istanbul attack.
“The forces that work symbolically with the international coalition in the fight against IS are now targets for the Turkish state and therefore (military) operations have stopped,” Abdi said, using an Arabic acronym of the Daesh group. “Anti-Daesh operations have stopped.”
His comments came hours after the US military said two rockets targeted US-led coalition forces at bases in the northeastern Syrian town of Shaddadeh resulting in no “injuries or damage to the base or coalition property.”
The US military statement said SDF fighters visited the site of the rocket's origin and found a third unfired rocket.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, blamed Daesh sleeper cells for the Friday night attack on the US base.
“Attacks of this kind place coalition forces and the civilian populace at risk and undermine the hard-earned stability and security of Syria and the region,” said Col. Joe Buccino, CENTCOM spokesman.
The SDF said in a statement before midnight Friday that as Turkish drones flew over the al-Hol camp that is home to tens of thousands of mostly wives, widows and children of IS fighters, some IS family members attacked security forces and managed to escape from the sprawling facility. The SDF did not say how many escaped but that they were later detained.
Kurdish authorities operate more than two dozen detention facilities scattered across northeastern Syria holding about 10,000 Daesh fighters. Among the detainees are some 2,000 foreigners whose home countries have refused to repatriate them, including about 800 Europeans.

Iran’s Khamenei praises Basij forces for confronting ‘riots’ — TV

Iran’s Khamenei praises Basij forces for confronting ‘riots’ — TV
Updated 26 November 2022

Iran’s Khamenei praises Basij forces for confronting ‘riots’ — TV

Iran’s Khamenei praises Basij forces for confronting ‘riots’ — TV

DUBAI: Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Saturday that Basij militia forces sacrificed their lives in “riots” sparked by the death in custody of a young Iranian Kurdish woman in September.
The Basij force, affiliated with the country’s Revolutionary Guards, has been at the forefront of the state crackdown on protests that have spread across the country. “They have sacrificed their lives to protect people from rioters,” Khamenei said in a televised speech.


Kuwait detects cholera in citizen arriving from neighboring country

Kuwait detects cholera in citizen arriving from neighboring country
Updated 26 November 2022

Kuwait detects cholera in citizen arriving from neighboring country

Kuwait detects cholera in citizen arriving from neighboring country

LONDON: Kuwait detected cholera in a citizen arriving from a neighboring country where there is an outbreak, the health ministry said in a statement on Friday.
According to the World Health Organization, Lebanon is in the latest phase of a outbreak that began in Afghanistan in June before spreading to Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and Syria.
“The Ministry of Health announced Friday a national who had returned recently from a neighboring country which suffers from cholera outbreak and showed symptoms of cholera infection,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that the “infected citizen had been isolated and received the treatment at a ministry hospital until his recovery.”
It also said that the ministry dealt with those who came into contact with the infected citizen according to the relevant protocols.
The ministry ruled out the possibility of a cholera outbreak in the country, but advised nationals and residents to be cautious and avoid unsafe water and food sources when visiting countries which have reported cholera outbreaks.
It encouraged those who show suspected symptoms, such as fever and diarrhea, within seven days of their arrival from one of the countries where the disease is prevalent to go to the nearest health center to receive the necessary advice and treatment.