Yemen

One fifth of Yemen’s population suffering from mental health disorders: UNFPA

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Yemen says twenty percent of the population in the war-ravaged Arab country suffers from mental health disorders, amid the ongoing Saudi-led military onslaught and tight blockade.

The fund, in a statement released on the occasion of World Mental Health Day, said that the number is based on a study carried out by the Family Counseling and Development Foundation back in 2017, noting that the figure is likely to have soared due to the coronavirus pandemic and incessant Saudi-led airstrikes.

The statement added that the proportion of psychiatrists per population is insufficient, while some of the few existing mental health services have shut down as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UNFPA then called for “greater investment” in mental health, noting it is “most timely and opportune for Yemen as humanitarian actors tackle the reduction of funding and challenges imposed by COVID-19 that are hampering the scaling up of quality and specialized services for mental health.”

Last December, Yemen’s Ministry of Human Rights warned that the ongoing Saudi-led military onslaught against the impoverished and conflict-ridden Arab country had taken heavy toll on Yemeni children’s mental wellbeing, saying tens of thousands of minors suffer from persistent trauma and psychological disorders there.

The ministry announced in a report at the time that years of continuous conflict in Yemen have left a devastating impact on the mental health of children, and that 80,000 kids suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other related issues.

The report added that 9,835 civilians, including 800 children, have been paralyzed as a result of direct targeting of their houses and places of residents by Saudi-led military aircraft.

The Yemeni ministry further highlighted that while 24 million and one hundred thousand people are in dire need of assistance, including food, healthcare, water, accommodation and education, more than 70 thousand civilians, who are suffering from conditions that cannot be treated inside Yemen, cannot receive required medication as the Saudi-led coalition does not allow the opening of a humanitarian air bridge from Sana’a International Airport.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched the war on Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crush the popular Houthi Ansarullah movement.

The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives for over the past five years.

The Houthi Ansarullah movement, backed by armed forces, has been defending Yemen against the Saudi-led alliance, preventing the aggressors from fulfilling the objectives of their deadly campaign.

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