Yemen tragedy



Clothes of victims left behind after the stampede, image courtesy of PBS

Katherine Powell, Reporter

On Apr. 19, yet another tragedy struck in the middle eastern country of Yemen. A charity event in the nation’s capital was stampeded by thousands of people hoping to receive a charity handout of just $9. Houthi militia members fired warning shots to the overwhelming crowds, hitting an electrical wire and initiating chaos amongst the crowds, leading to the collapse of the school building. Approximately 78 people were killed and dozens more were injured.

This tragic event has helped to draw attention to the chaos and destruction going on in Yemen. In 2014, civil war broke out when the long standing Yemeni government was attacked by the Houthi militia group. The civil war soon turned into an international issue, a proxy war between Iran (backing the Houthi group), and Saudi Arabia (backing the Yemeni government). The war is ongoing and has sent millions of people into poverty and famine. Over the last nine years, the collapse of the economy and government has caused the country to be in complete peril, forcing all of its citizens to live in fear. Many people are in such deep poverty that they cannot afford food- when it is available.

Families of the victims who died in the building collapse are set to receive approximately $2000 each, while people injured in the accident are to receive $400 each. Houthi authorities detained and interrogated two merchants that had organized the event, their current status in unknown. More than 23 million people, approximately two-thirds of the Yemen population, are in need of help and protection according to the United Nations.