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The Devastating Toll of Military Intervention In Yemen

The Devastating Toll of Military Intervention In Yemen


Yemen’s ongoing civil war, marred with foreign military intervention of several countries, has taken a devastating toll on the country’s people, infrastructure, and economy. Peace Science shows how most of these devastating costs of war will last long after the fighting stops.

In the News:

“’Social services are barely functional. The economy is in ruins. Prices have soared. Hospitals have been damaged. Schools have turned into shelters or have been taken over by armed groups,’ UNICEF Executive Director Henriette Fore told journalists in Geneva on Tuesday, describing her trip to the key cities of Aden and Sana’a. Having witnessed first-hand the effects of three years of intense war, after decades of underdevelopment and chronic global indifference can do to children, Ms. Fore spelled out some of what children there are going through. She said that they were routinely ‘taken out of school, forced to fight, married off, hungry, dying from preventable diseases,’ she began, adding that ‘today, 11 million children in Yemen – more than the entire population of Switzerland – need help getting food, treatment, education, water and sanitation.'”

“Since 2015, health facilities have been cut by more than half; 1,500 schools have been damaged by airstrikes and shelling; and at least 2,200 children have been killed with around 3,400 injured, according to the UNICEF chief. ‘These are only numbers we have been able to verify. The actual figures could be even higher,” she said. “There is no justification for this carnage.'”

Insight from Peace Science:

  • Intervention can weaken a target government and other domestic institutions, reducing their ability to provide public services or forcing the government to redirect PQOL resources to the military.
  • Intervention can damage physical infrastructure (hospitals, schools, roads, industrial plants, communication networks, etc.). Public health will diminish if access to providers is disrupted, literacy rates will go down when schools are destroyed, and access to goods and services will be affected when roads are blocked.
  • Intervention can produce internally displaced people that can overwhelm operating health and education services.
  • Intervention can lead to a breakdown in the rule of law, potentially increasing the rate of looting, violence, and other criminal activity.
  • Intervention can damage the local environment, reducing access to potable water and arable land.
  • Consequences of any of the above may result in physical and/or psychological trauma.
  • Between 1960 and 2005, 106 countries have suffered reduced quality of life due to foreign military interventions.
  • In both democracies and non-democracies, foreign military interventions reduce physical quality of life to 20% of what it was before the intervention.
  • In former non-democracies, the annual growth rate of physical quality of life post-intervention is 68% higher than before military intervention—most likely due to the reformation or removal of ineffective and/or brutal governments.


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