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Bp. Hinder: “Yemen” between war and cholera

Bishop Paul Hinder - AFP

Bishop Paul Hinder - AFP

06/06/2017 12:54

Bishop Hinder calls for prayer and silent help for Christians and Muslims suffering in Yemen and says that the situation there is disastrous. 

As reported by AsiaNews Bishop Paul Hinder, apostolic vicar of southern Arabia (UAE, Oman and Yemen) notes that it is not possible at present to draw a full picture of the situation because it is difficult  to go there and have credible information. None of the parties involved in the war can be said to be “innocent”, noted Mgr Hinder. “Violations” are perpetrated on both sides. In the end, it is the civilian population that pays the price, often forgotten and abandoned to itself, forced to face a “cholera emergency” as well.

According to WHO he said, almost 74,000 cases of cholera have been reported with more than 600 dead (40 per cent children). Up to 300,000 people are at risk. Every ten minutes a child under five dies. Health facilities are on the verge of collapse he observed.

UN humanitarian chief Stephen O'Brien is among those sounding the alarm. Yemen, he said, is facing “total social, economic and institutional collapse”. Yemenis’ suffering was no coincidence, he added, but rather the fault of those involved and inaction by world powers.

If nothing is done, cholera cases could quadruple in the next month to 300,000, half of them children, with hospitals unable to meet the demand.

“For Yemen,’” said Mgr Hinder, “I feel a silent sorrow that embraces both Muslims, who are 99 per cent of the population, as well as Christians, almost all foreigners, who have remained for a variety of reasons. Certainly, the conditions vary depending on the area of the country, but the difficulties and the sufferings touch everyone.”

“I continue to pray for the people without special proclamations or announcements,” the prelate added. “My prayers are not only personal, but embrace the whole community. Recently, during a visit to an Abu Dhabi parish, I shared my intentions with the faithful, asking them to pray for peace in Yemen” he said.

Some people and organisations have “offered financial and material aid, but distribution remains a problem,” the apostolic vicar explained. “For now, we collect the offerings, waiting to see how we can deliver them and "relieve at least some of the sufferings.”

“We are ready to help, but the climate is difficult, and we have to move carefully.” The Church continues its silent help through prayer, waiting for developments, including political ones after Qatar was excluded from the Arab coalition. The important thing is to not forget, to keep attention alive, and continue our spiritual mission of memory through prayer he said.  Almost 19 million people (out of a population of 24 million) are in need of humanitarian assistance to varying degrees. The conflict has brought almost seven million people to the brink of starvation.

The Yemeni Civil War is an ongoing conflict that began in 2015 between two factions claiming to constitute the Yemeni government, along with their supporters and allies. Houthi forces controlling the capital Sana'a and allied with forces loyal to the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh have clashed with forces loyal to the government of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, based in Aden.

According to the UN, from March 2015 to March 2017, 16,200 people have been killed in Yemen, including 10,000 civilians.

06/06/2017 12:54