According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Yemen has one of the highest contamination rates with deadly explosives and landmines worldwide.
“When it comes to weapon containment, Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan are the three countries most affected by this,” Fabrizio Carboni, the Near and Middle East regional director with the ICRC, said. “It is really devastating and has a very important impact on people, their safety, and also their livelihood.
“The presence of unexploded ordnance is massive,” Carboni stressed. “The contamination is so important and so widespread that you will not be able to decontaminate everything even if the conflict ended today.
“This is the first time that I really have the feeling that there are convincing and concrete political options on the table and that violence is no longer the only option,” he continued.
It is estimated that at least 1 million mines have been planted throughout Yemen since the country was torn apart by war.
The U.N.-linked Civilian Impact Monitoring Project reported that landmines, unexploded shells and other munitions or weapons that were left behind during the war have injured or killed more than 1,460 Yemeni civilians since 2018.
Earlier this month, the Yemen Executive Mine Action Center (YEMAC) said that unexploded artillery and cluster bombs used by the Saudi-led coalition killed dozens of civilians in August.
The center was critical of the United Nations for suspending funds to clear minefields for the second straight month in Yemen. The YEMAC stressed that many more Yemeis, including children, will be killed or injured without the funds.
In March 2015, Saudi Arabia launched a brutal war against Yemen, enlisting the support of regional allies, including the UAE, along with massive shipments of advanced weapons from the United States and Western Europe.
The Western governments further extended their logistical and political support in a failed attempt to restore power to the former Saudi-installed government in Yemen.
In late 2014, Abd Rabbuh Mansur, the former president of the Yemeni government, resigned from the presidency. He later fled to Riyadh in the midst of political conflict with Ansarullah.
Tens of thousands of Yemenis have been killed during the war, turning the country into the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.