COVID-19 New Epidemic Added to List of Enemies of Yemen
As if Yemen’s protracted war and humanitarian crisis were not enough, COVID-19 presents an imminent danger that further threatens the country’s people. Even though only one case of COVID-19 has been reported in Yemen, an outbreak seems inevitable as cases in surrounding countries continue to rise and Yemen’s health care system remains in tatters from the war.
Yemen’s 30 million people have endured more than 5 years of war waged by the so-called Saudi-led coalition, which created conditions that facilitated several notable disease outbreaks, including cholera, diphtheria, measles, and dengue fever. Cholera alone has affected nearly every Yemeni family in some way, with almost two million suspected cases since 2016, according to the United Nations. Now that it is the rainy season, another cholera outbreak appears likely. An additional COVID-19 outbreak will be calamitous.
More than half of Yemen’s health facilities are closed or partially functioning. Since 2015, the US-Saudi aggression has targeted not only medical facilities but also medical personnel, as health workers have been threatened, injured, abducted, detained, and killed. Moreover, many medical professionals from Yemen were attracted by the countries of aggressor, further damaging the ability of the health care system to respond to a pandemic.
Today, under COVID-19, which has a terrifying message in all countries of the world, most of the strong immune people (the Yemeni people) are still optimistic about not having outbreaks of infection, while others see that there is a huge media amplification and intimidation that does not require fear or anxiety from it. As for the third type, some of them committed themselves to their homes for fear of corona and some of them practice their daily rituals regularly. Between this and that the people live in a state of extreme poverty, suffocating siege and simplicity that keeps them away from the peoples of the earth.
In this report, points of view of some Yemenis in dealing with the coronavirus are quoted from YPA.
Overdramatization in Media
“Overdramatization in the media about the coronavirus is more dangerous than the epidemic itself. It is brazen that most of the media focuses on counting victims in the countries of the world and does not reassure people that this virus is less dangerous,” Dr. Ali Salah Ahmed said.
“We have more victims of war and other diseases in Yemen than in corona in any country in the world, so we should not be afraid of it, just as we should not be lenient in taking precautionary measures against it,” he added.
In the opinion of the writer Ali Al-Sanani what the media talks about regarding corona is just a false media intimidation and that the cholera was more dangerous to Yemenis than it, as it kills a human being within 48 hours. As for corona, it is only a pure media war, especially against the Yemeni people.
“The media intimidation in most Arab channels about the appearance of the first injury in Yemen was very exaggerated and suspicions were entered in my heart. My worst fear is that the aim of it will be to divert our attention from other things they wanted to cover, such as seizing the ports and expelling the workers in them to enter things that only God and the mercenaries know,” Al-Sanani added.
At a time when all the powers of the world are mobilized to face this epidemic, only the Yemeni people do not care , despite the anxiety and panic in the hearts of all.
“The Yemeni citizen is unlike any citizen in the countries of the world,” Salim al-Hafashi said. “We are primarily a social people. It is impossible to find a person who spends his day isolated from mixing, we cannot leave Qat gatherings, youth sessions in lanes, streets, cafes, or even in front of groceries, restaurants, and Qat markets. These things are not easy to abandon despite people’s fear of corona,” Al-Hafashi added.
Since every Yemeni governorate has hundreds of markets, especially the Qat market, these markets represent the greatest danger to the people if any virus spreads, they are the most active and the most difficult to find an alternative to them.
In this regard, Suhaib Al-Dubai said, “I work in the Hael market in Sana’a. I do not find a coronavirus except in the media. As for the streets and markets, people are usually crowded, and they do not wear masks or what is required to avoid the virus.”
“We have nothing to fear. Corona will not be more harmful than bad living. What does this virus do to a Yemeni person whose country is destroyed? He finds no water, no electricity, no food. This is what all Yemenis believe and this is why markets are crowded with people,” Al-Dubai added.
Just as people with satirical pens harness their talents in writing comics and entertainment stories about the coronavirus on social media, there are also the coalition of aggression that exploit it to foster media rivalries and fuel war.
Ahmed al-Hashemi describes the media war in Yemen as immoral by saying, “There is no respect for these miserable people. Those in the ranks of the coalition are stirring fear and anxiety by spreading false news of suspected cases in Sana’a and its provinces.”
Al-Hashemi concluded his speech saying, “The most rudeness of the local conflict, these external ones. The countries of coalition leading their war in Yemen, declared a truce to stop the war in just two weeks due to the coronavirus. Saudi Arabia wants this announcement to provide a picture of its humanity and I do not know where their humanity disappeared during the four years of the destruction of Yemen and the killing of thousands of Yemenis.”