If one argues optimistically, one can say that developed nations should mitigate the disruption coronavirus causes. Likewise, one can say the same for developing nations in a cautious tone while laying stress on excellent management skills and good governance. But all optimism goes down the drain when one thinks of countries that are already ravaged by bitter civil wars. One such country is Yemen – the poorest in the Middle East (ME).

The infighting between the government and rebel forces has devastated not only the infrastructure of the country, but also created a humanitarian crisis only second to the one caused by World War II in scale. At least 80 percent of the Yemeni population is internally displaced with no access to necessary health facilities. It is heart-wrenching to note that for many Yemenis, even washing their hands is a luxury as clean water is scarce to the extreme.

Fortunately, the country has not registered any cases of the coronavirus as of yet. The global community, therefore, still has some time left to show prompt action and take humanitarian steps that can save the population from the devastating effects of the pandemic. Perhaps, the international society has long forgotten its slogan “never again” as it is in deep slumber over the situation in Yemen.

Yemen will likely be the reference point to all studies conducted on the devastation caused by the coronavirus should it reach the country. The health system could not cope with outbreaks of dengue fever, cholera and other diseases. The arrival of COVID-19 to Yemen would exacerbate the already dire condition of health infrastructure.

The fierce urgency of now demands from the international community to do all that it can do to save the 80 percent of Yemenis who lack food, drinking water and access to healthcare services. Without international assistance, the country’s medical infrastructure, debilitated from five years of civil war, cannot fight against the virus.