The bombs have stopped in Yemen but children are still deprived of life-saving treatment

While many in the international community celebrate, some families in Yemen are left watching their children slowly die.

There are about 30,000 people suffering from life-threatening illnesses that require treatment abroad, according to the Houthi-controlled government in the capital, Sanaa. About 5,000 of them are children. The truce allowed flights to take patients out of the country, but this mainly applies to families who can afford treatment abroad. Thanks to the devastating effects of war and the humanitarian crisis it has created – once described by the United Nations as the worst in the world – most cannot do so.
Over the past seven years, the Saudi-led coalition has tried to crush the Iran-backed Houthis, after the group – also known as Ansar Allah – ousted the internationally recognized government. The war led to a years-long fuel embargo imposed by the coalition and supported by the United States.

This support—and broader U.S. support for military action in Yemen—is currently being challenged by a war powers resolution introduced by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders. The blockade, import restrictions, and high inflation are crippling Yemen’s healthcare systems and economy.

The coalition has allowed only 24 of the 36 fuel ships to enter the Red Sea port of Hodeidah since the truce was announced on April 2. That was a welcome fuel injection – both for the economy and for running health care facilities – but still less than what the UN says is enough to “support essential services”.

But other than the stats, here are some of the lives that have been affected by this reality.

Raneem Al Khaled will turn her second year in September. I was born with Down syndrome.

Her father, Abdul Rahman, says: “She is an angel sent to us. I have four other children and she – the youngest – has my heart.”

When Raneem began experiencing shortness of breath, none of the Yemeni health facilities were equipped to provide a diagnosis. Raneem’s family, who was more fortunate than most children in the country, managed to send her with her aunt to Cairo in search of treatment. There she was diagnosed with a weak heart blood vessel and her aunt was told she needed an operation to insert a stent to keep it open and pumping blood.

The surgery and associated expenses came to $10,000 and were scheduled for June 6. Where the family’s luck ran out. They had no money to pay and the date of the operation came and went.

“We’ve lost a lot of children in the last seven years of war,” Dr. Abd al-Rahman al-Hadi, head of Yemen’s National Oncology Center, told CNN. “They were waiting for a mercy that did not come.”

At his center alone, more than 300 children have died while waiting to travel abroad for treatment. Dr. Al-Hadi sent a video to one of his patients, five-year-old Mohammed Salman. Both Mohammed and his six-year-old brother were told they needed a stem cell transplant for bone marrow failure caused by hereditary aplastic anemia. His brother died five months ago, before the siege was partially lifted. Now Muhammad is waiting alone.

“There is nothing more difficult for parents than feeling helpless when it comes to saving their children’s lives,” Aisha Jamaan told CNN.

The US-based Jamaan Relief and Reconstruction Foundation for Yemen is one of the few organizations trying to support families seeking treatment abroad. But the average cost of treating a child is up to $10,000. This will amount to the nearly $50 million needed in total for children who need life-saving treatment. It is an uphill battle to save lives that can only be won through a coordinated and systematic response to the Yemen crisis.
The bombs have stopped, but the avoidable deaths in Yemen will not end until the blockade is fully lifted and the war-fueled economic collapse reversed. At the moment, the only thing that brings joy to Raneem and her family is music.

“When I start playing nursery rhymes, she loves it so she doesn’t even notice the pain,” her father says. “When she laughs and sings, it’s as if everything around us is a song. She’s an angel and I’ll give my life to keep her with us.”

To contribute to efforts to help Yemen’s children with life-threatening illnesses, you can make a donation to the Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation at


Iran nuclear talks resume in Vienna this week

Senior Iranian, European and US officials are due to resume nuclear talks in Vienna on Friday, as Iran continues to enrich its uranium levels and accelerate its nuclear programme.

  • backgroundIran sent negotiators to Vienna on Wednesday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said, following a proposal made by the European Union’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken backed the EU proposal in his comments on Monday, saying the US was “prepared to move forward on the basis of what was agreed upon,” but it was unclear whether Iran was ready to do the same. A senior US administration official told CNN on Wednesday that US special envoy for Iran Rob Malley will also travel to Vienna for the new round of talks to try to salvage the nuclear deal, although the administration is keeping expectations low for the latest negotiations.
  • why does it matter: Multiple rounds of indirect talks aimed at reviving the nuclear deal between world powers have not yielded any result so far, and hopes for an agreement have faded. Meanwhile, Iran continued to accelerate its nuclear program, saying it had the capability to make a nuclear bomb, but it has not decided after that.

OPEC agrees to produce a little more oil as recession fears loom

The world’s oil-exporting countries have agreed to a slight increase in production next month amid concerns that the global recession will reduce demand.
  • backgroundThe Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies – the group known as OPEC+ that includes Russia – announced on Wednesday planned production of 100,000 barrels per day in September. For months, OPEC+ has tried to reverse production cuts made during the pandemic when demand for oil waned. In June, the cartel agreed to boost supplies to offset a decline in Russian oil trade, after the European Union pledged to cut Russian crude imports by 90% by the end of the year. OPEC+ agreed to increase production by 648,000 barrels per day in July and August. But according to a Reuters survey earlier this week, many countries have not fulfilled their pledges.
  • why does it matterThis is the first OPEC meeting since US President Joe Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia last month. Biden urged the country – the group’s largest oil producer – to start pumping more. And while there were expectations of a rise in production after Wednesday’s meeting, analysts say the increase announced is “a drop in an ocean”.

Temperatures in Iraq reach 50 degrees Celsius

On Thursday, the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, recorded a high temperature of 49.5 degrees Celsius, which is equivalent to about 121 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • background: Several locations in Iraq exceeded 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit) on Thursday with the highest temperature of 52.6 degrees Celsius (127 Fahrenheit) on record in Basra-Hussain. Baghdad has been sweltering hot this summer, with temperatures hovering above 42°C (108°F) for more than a month. The past four days have reached over 49°C (120°F).
  • why does it matterA little relief is expected in the coming days with temperatures expected to rise to nearly 50 degrees Celsius over the weekend in Baghdad. Temperatures of this level raise significant concerns of heat-related illness, especially for those without access to water, adequate shelter, and air conditioning.

what do you want to watch

US officials had expected the world’s oil-exporting countries to agree to a much larger increase in production at their August meeting. In the same week, the United States approved potential arms sales worth billions of dollars to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

CNN’s Eleni Geokos talks with Energy Intelligence’s lead OPEC correspondent, Amina Bakr, and Arab News Editor-in-Chief, Faisal Abbas, about the significance of the two events.

Watch the report here:

About the area

The year of football in the Middle East has already turned out to be big, with Saudi Arabia expressing its interest in hosting the 2026 AFC Women’s Asian Cup.

The Asian Football Confederation announced, on Monday, that Saudi Arabia has registered its interest in hosting the tournament for the first time.

Saudi women’s soccer team game Their first match was in February of this year against Seychelles, which ended 2-0 against Saudi Arabia.

In response to the news, the Saudi Football Association tweeted, “We aspire to host Asia’s largest women’s tournament in 2026.”

The Asian Football Confederation said it will now begin work on obtaining bids from all interested countries and a decision will be made in 2023.

Women’s football reached new global levels this year. The 2022 Women’s European Championship, hosted by England – the eventual winners – drew record crowds. Total attendance across the tournament exceeded 570,000, more than double the record set in 2017, with 87,192 fans attending the final at Wembley, a new record for a women’s international game in Europe.

By Mohammed Abdelbary

today’s picture

Marching band members dressed in ancient Egyptian clothes perform before the Pyramids Air Show 2022 at the cemetery of the Pyramids of Giza, in the southwestern suburbs of the Egyptian capital, Cairo, on August 3.

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