“I am struck in this Advent season that as we wait expectantly for the birth of Jesus, millions of people around the world are waiting as well,” says Ken Kim, Director of Disaster Response and Rehabilitation.. “Yet their waiting looks very different. They wait for the next meal; for peace to come; for life to return to what it used to be.”
In Yemen, millions are waiting. According to the United Nations, an estimated 22.2 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. Over 8 million people are at risk of starvation. For four years, war has engulfed this country. Hunger, disease, and bombs have forever changed the lives of millions.
In August, an air strike hit a market, killing 40 people and injuring 60 more; children on a bus were among the casualties. Attacks against civilians, health-care facilities, and aid workers have left fears that no one in safe. The humanitarian needs continue to grow because of the ongoing conflict and the refusal of combatants to allow emergency assistance to reach innocent families.
“There are few places in the world more difficult to operate than in Yemen,” continues Kim. “We are devastated by what is going on in Yemen. The atrocities that the Yemeni people have endured is beyond what any human should experience.” Thankfully, through the work of ADRA Yemen, supported by World Renew and other Canadian church partners, 1,100 families are receiving emergency food assistance in the coming months. This project is receiving matching support from the Canadian Government through the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.
The stories of this crisis – stories of waiting – are heartbreaking, and rarely told.
Samira’s life changed dramatically in just one morning. She was out buying breakfast for her brother when an air raid struck nearby. She was injured in an explosion and ever since has had a permanent disability in her hand. Her family narrowly escaped this horrible attack; as they fled their village on foot, fighter jets filled the skies overhead. They took refuge in a spontaneous settlement and have lived there since that fateful day.
Samira remembers her old home, tears filling her eyes. “We were happy there. We used to go out to play and buy candy.” Now they live in a small tent and struggle to find even the necessities. “The first thing I will do when the conflict ends is to go back to my home. I wish my hand could be treated.”
Samira is in waiting.
Women and girls, like Samira, are often the most at risk in times of crisis. Basic health services are nearly inaccessible, and many are at risk of being victims of physical and sexual violence. Through the work of ADRA Yemen, much-needed assistance is reaching some of these families. While it may be a small amount, we are thankful for the support we can offer.
In this Advent season, as you wait for the birth of our Savior, please pray for the people of Yemen who are also in waiting. Pray that their waiting would soon end and that families would have enough food to eat and one day soon be able to return home. Please consider supporting this important response, ensuring that in the midst of waiting, Yemeni families have reliable access to food each day.