04/25/2019, 08.50
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​UN: 40 years of economic and social development in Yemen at risk

UNDP experts have outlined three scenarios, depending on whether the war ended in 2019, 2022 or 2030. The repercussions on infrastructure, health and population are devastating. Economic losses range from US billion to US7 billion. About 71 per cent of the population is at risk of extreme poverty. MsF reports many deaths are due to delivery complications.

Sana'a (AsiaNews) – The Yemen conflict, now in its fourth year, has set the country’s development back by at least 21 years and decades will be needed to rebuild, this according to a United Nations Development Program (UNDP) study.

The study notes that the civil war has undermined growth and negatively impacted on the living conditions of the population. It suggests that if the war ends in 2022, development gains will have been reversed by 26 years. If it continues through 2030, the setback will increase to four decades.

Entitled Assessing the Impact of War on Development in Yemen, the study was conducted by researchers at the Frederick S. Pardee Centre for International Futures, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver.

The research assesses the impact of conflict on the priorities articulated in the globally agreed Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals.

It compares three potential quantitative modelling scenarios for the conflict ending in 2019, 2022 and 2030 against a hypothetical scenario where the conflict did not escalate after 2014.

Based on the scenarios, the impact of conflict on multiple dimensions of development is quantified, including demographic outlook, economic conditions, infrastructures, health and education.

“Human development has not just been interrupted. It has been reversed,” notes UNDP Yemen Resident Representative, Auke Lootsma. “Even if there were to be peace tomorrow, it could take decades for Yemen to return to pre-conflict levels of development. This is a big loss for the people of Yemen.”

Economic output losses will add up to around US.8 billion – a reduction of US,000 (purchasing power parity) in the GDP per capita.

Worse still, the study estimates that by 2030 71 per cent of the population will be living in extreme poverty; 84 per cent will be malnourished; and estimated losses in economic output will amount to around US7.

The long-term consequences are "vast" and appear to be the "most destructive" since the end of the Second World War, particularly in terms of health.

A new report by Doctors without Borders (MsF) titled Complicated delivery: The Yemeni mothers and children dying without medical care confirms this.

The document shows that many women with complications during childbirth and parents of sick children cannot safely and timely reach medical care, often with lethal consequences.

Between 2016 and 2018, 36 mothers and 1,529 children died in MsF’s Taiz Houban hospital, in Taiz governorate, and the MsF-supported Abs hospital, in Hajjah governorate. Of the deaths in Taiz Houban, almost one-third were children and new-borns who were dead on arrival.

The war in Yemen, which began in 2014 as an internal conflict between the pro-Saudi government and Shia Houthi rebels close to Iran, escalated in March 2015 with the intervention of a Saudi-led Arab coalition.

So far, more than 10,000 people have died and 55,000 have been wounded. Independent groups put the death toll at 57,000 (between January 2016 and the end of July 2018).

For the UN, the conflict has triggered "the worst humanitarian crisis in the world" with about 24 million Yemenis (80 per cent of the population) in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.

Some 2,500 boys have been recruited as child-soldiers and half of girls are married off before they reach the age of 15.

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