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Al Qaeda, War, Hunger, and Poverty

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Al Qaeda, war, hunger, and poverty. Can you imagine all of these threats converging on a nation at the same time? This is exactly what is happening to Yemen in the Middle East.

The Al Qaeda terrorist network has made Yemen a primary base. If they are not stopped, there is fear they could gain strength enough to launch more attacks against the West. Secretary of State Clinton said of the U.S. and Yemen, “We face a common threat from those violent extremists who target civilians without mercy or remorse.”

The U.S. sent military aid to help Yemen combat Al Qaeda, but the country is weakened by even greater threats within its borders.

Around 300,000 Yemenis have been displaced by the conflict in the North between the government and rebels. A ceasefire in the “Sa’ada War” was declared in February, but there have been outbreaks of new fighting, threatening hopes of a lasting peace.

The longer peace remains elusive, the more suffering Yemenis will have to endure. Their lives, the development of their country, will have to wait.

This tragic suffering of the innocent in war is a theme shared throughout the ages. You could even go back to a time in U.S. history where civilians along the U.S. and Canadian border suffered destruction and displacement from war. They relished the day when the weapons of war would disappear from their region. Yemenis wait for such a day.

In Yemen, even those not in the northern conflict zone have another enemy to face. Hunger and poverty grip the whole country. Low funding for the World Food Programme has forced the suspension of aid programs, including Food for Education, and shortages mean ration cuts for victims of the Sa’ada conflict.

No strategy for helping Yemen is complete unless it includes a roadmap to end hunger and poverty. It has to start by restoring food aid programs to stabilize the situation.

Then a foundation for long-term solutions can move forward, including Food for Work projects to build infrastructure, Food for Education for all children, universal infant feeding, and building agricultural production. The government of Yemen and the international community need to work together on these projects to restore the basics of food, water, shelter, and medical care, all of which are in short supply.

These basics of life also represent hope for the Yemenis, as they face such massive challenges.

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About William Lambers

William Lambers is the author of several books including Ending World Hunger: School Lunches for Kids Around the World. This book features over 50 interviews with officials from the UN World Food Programme and other charities discussing school feeding programs that fight child hunger. He is also the author of Nuclear Weapons, The Road to Peace: From the Disarming of the Great Lakes to the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Open Skies for Peace, The Spirit of the Marshall Plan: Taking Action Against World Hunger, School Lunches for Kids Around the World, The Roadmap to End Global Hunger, From War to Peace and the Battle of Britain. He is also a writer for the History News Service. His articles have been published by newspapers including the Cincinnati Enquirer, Des Moines Register, the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Buffalo News, San Diego Union Tribune, the Providence Journal, Free Lance-Star (VA), the Bakersfield Californian, the Washington Post, Miami Herald (FL), Chicago Sun-Times, the Patriot Ledger (MA), Charleston Sunday Gazette Mail (WV), the Cincinnati Post, Salt Lake Tribune (UT), North Adams Transcript (MA), Wichita Eagle (KS), Monterey Herald (CA), Athens Banner-Herald (GA) and the Duluth News Journal. His articles also appear on History News Network (HNN) and Think Africa Press. Mr. Lambers is a graduate of the College of Mount St. Joseph in Ohio with degrees in Liberal Arts (BA) and Organizational Leadership (MS). He is also a member of the Feeding America Blogger Council.
  • Jane

    Good article Bill. Don’t stop. You are a necessary voice for millions who can’t speak.

  • Nathan

    Let’s all hope that is happening in Egypt ends peacefully and the hunger and poverty in the middle east improves for all countries.

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