Bombings in Yemen have stopped but children are still being denied life-saving treatment

While many in the international community celebrate, some families in Yemen are watching their children slowly die.

There are around 30,000 people with deadly diseases requiring treatment abroad, according to the Houthi-controlled government in the capital Sanaa. Some 5,000 of them are children. The truce has allowed flights carrying patients out of the country, but it works mainly for families who can afford treatment abroad. Thanks to devastating effects of war and the humanitarian crisis it has created – once described by the UN as the worst in the world — most cannot
For the past seven years, a Saudi-led coalition has tried to crush the Iran-backed Houthis, after the group – also known as Ansarullah – overthrew the internationally recognized government. The war led to a fuel blockage for years imposed by the coalition and supported by the United States.

That support — and broader US support for military action in Yemen — is currently being challenged in a war powers resolution introduced by US Senator Bernie Sanders. The blockade, import restrictions and high inflation cripple all health systems and the economy of Yemen.

Only 24 out of 36 oil tankers have been allowed by the coalition to enter the Red Sea port of Hodeidah since the truce was established on April 2. It was a welcome fuel injection, both for the economy and for the operation of healthcare facilities. – but still below what the UN says is enough “to support essential services”.

But beyond the statistics, here are some of the lives impacted by this reality.

Raneem Alkhalid will be two years old in September. She was born with Down syndrome.

“It is an angel who has been sent to us. I have four other children and she, my youngest, has my heart,” says her father Abdelrahman.

When Raneem began to suffer from shortness of breath, none of Yemen’s health facilities were equipped to offer a diagnosis. Luckier than most children in the country, Raneem’s family was able to send him and an aunt to Cairo to seek treatment. There, she was diagnosed with weak blood vessels in the heart and her aunt was told she needed an operation to insert a stent to hold them open and pump blood.

The surgery and associated expenses totaled $10,000 and a date was set for June 6. This is where the family’s luck ran out. They didn’t have the money to pay and the surgery date came and went.

“We have lost too many children in the past seven years of war,” Dr. Abdulrahman Alhadi, who heads Yemen’s National Oncology Center, told CNN. “They were looking for mercy, which never came.”

In his center alone, more than 300 children have died while waiting to travel abroad for treatment. Dr. Alhadi listens to a video on CNN of one of his patients, five-year-old Mohammed Salman. Mohammed and his six-year-old brother were both told they needed a stem cell transplant for bone marrow failure caused by their hereditary aplastic anemia. Her brother died five months ago, before the blockade was partially lifted. Now Mohammed waits alone.

“There is nothing more difficult for parents than feeling helpless when it comes to saving their children’s lives,” Aisha Jumaan told CNN.

US-based Jumaan’s Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation is one of the few organizations trying to help families seek treatment abroad. But the average cost of treatment for a child is $10,000. This would amount to approximately $50 million needed in total for children in need of life-saving treatment. It is an uphill battle to save lives that can only be won with a coordinated and systemic response to the crisis in Yemen.
The bombs have stopped but the preventable deaths in Yemen will not end until the blockade is completely lifted and the economic collapse fueled by the war is reversed. For now, the only thing that makes Raneem and his family happy is music.

“When I start playing the children’s songs she likes, she doesn’t even notice the pain,” her father says. “When she laughs and sings, it’s like everything around us is a song. She’s an angel and I’d give my life to keep her with us.”

To contribute to the effort to help Yemeni children with life-threatening illnesses, you can donate to the Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation at https://yemenfoundation.org/

The summary

Iran nuclear talks resume in Vienna this week

Senior Iranian, European and American officials were due to resume nuclear talks in Vienna on Friday, as Iran continues to enrich its uranium levels and ramp up its nuclear program.

  • Background: Iran sent negotiators to Vienna on Wednesday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry announced, following a proposal by senior European diplomat Josep Borrell. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken supported the EU proposal in comments on Monday, saying the US is “ready to move forward based on what has been agreed”, but he did not It is unclear if Iran is ready to do the same. A senior administration official told CNN on Wednesday that US special envoy for Iran Rob Malley would also travel to Vienna for the new round of talks to try to salvage the nuclear deal, although the administration keeps expectations low for the final negotiations.
  • why is it important: Several rounds of indirect talks aimed at reviving the nuclear deal between world powers have yet to yield results, and hopes for a deal have faded. Iran has meanwhile continued to accelerate its nuclear program, claiming it has the capability to build a nuclear bomb, but has not decided to do so.

OPEC agrees to produce a bit more oil as recession fears loom

The world’s oil-exporting countries have agreed on a small increase in production next month amid fears that a global recession will crimp demand.
  • Background: The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies – a grouping known as OPEC+ which includes Russia – announced on Wednesday the planned production of 100,000 additional barrels per day in September. For months, OPEC+ tried to reverse production cuts made during the pandemic when demand for oil collapsed. In June, the cartel agreed to increase supply to compensate for a drop in Russian oil trade, after the EU pledged to cut imports of Russian crude by 90% by the end of the EU. year. OPEC+ agreed to increase production by 648,000 barrels per day in July and August. But, according to a Reuters survey earlier this week, many countries have failed to deliver on their promises.
  • why is it important: This was the first OPEC meeting since US President Joe Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia last month. Biden has urged the country – which is the group’s biggest oil producer – to start pumping more. While an increase in production was expected after Wednesday’s meeting, analysts say the announced increase is “a drop in the bucket”.

Temperatures in Iraq exceed 50 degrees Celsius

People cool off by the Tigris River in hot weather in Baghdad, Iraq, on August 4.

Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, recorded a high temperature of 49.5 degrees Celsius on Thursday, which is equivalent to around 121 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Background: Many places in Iraq exceeded 50C (122F) on Thursday with the highest temperature of 52.6C (127F) recorded in Basrah-Hussen. Baghdad has been sweltering this summer with high temperatures above 42C (108F) for more than a month. The last four days have reached over 49C (120F).
  • why is it important: Little relief is expected in the coming days with high temperatures expected to climb to near 50C throughout the weekend in Baghdad. Temperatures of this level raise major concerns for heat-related illnesses, especially for those without access to water, nearby shelter and air conditioning.

What to watch

U.S. officials had expected the world’s oil-exporting nations to approve a much bigger increase in production when they meet in August. The same week, the United States approved a possible multi-billion dollar arms sale to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

CNN’s Eleni Giokos speaks with Energy Intelligence Chief OPEC Correspondent Amena Bakr and Arab News Editor Faisal Abbas about the significance of the two events.

Watch the report here:

Around the region

What is already a big year for football in the Middle East just got even bigger when Saudi Arabia expressed interest in hosting the 2026 Women’s Asian Cup.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced on Monday that Saudi Arabia has expressed interest in hosting the tournament for the first time.

The Kingdom women’s football team play their first game in February this year against Seychelles, which ended 2-0 against Saudi Arabia.

In response to the news, the Saudi Women’s Football Federation tweeted “we aspire to host the Asian continent for the biggest women’s tournament in 2026”.

The AFC said it would now start working to secure bids from all interested countries and a decision would be made in 2023.

Women’s football has reached new global heights this year. Women’s Euro 2022, hosted by England – the eventual winners – drew record crowds. Total attendance for the tournament exceeded 570,000, more than double the record set in 2017, with 87,192 fans attending the final at Wembley, a new record for a women’s international match in Europe.

By Mohamed Abdelbary

Photo of the day

Marching band members dressed in ancient Egyptian clothing perform ahead of the 2022 Pyramids Air Show at the Giza Pyramids Necropolis on the southwestern outskirts of Egypt's capital Cairo on August 3.