Yemen: Inside a Crisis is a temporary exhibition at IWM North that provides a harrowing snapshot of what the UN has called the ‘world’s worst’ humanitarian crisis. It is also vital viewing. The simply laid-out displays clearly outline the complex politics behind an entirely man-made crisis – including Britain’s paradoxical role in supplying both arms and aid to the region. If you are in any doubt about why the situation in Yemen has become so catastrophic, this exhibition provides a logical backstory. It also offers an unflinching eye on the impact that the conflict has had on Yemen’s population; to visit this exhibition is to act as a witness to unspeakable hardship, and to acknowledge the suffering millions of people are experiencing. Of around 50 objects and photographs on show here, the five we’ve chosen each speak to a unique aspect of the crisis as it continues to unfold. Visit the exhibition for a deeper understanding of this urgent humanitarian disaster.

Cash Distribution Vouchers

The conflict in Yemen has had a devastating impact on the local economy, meaning that food (80-90% of which is imported) has become cripplingly expensive. Millions of people are facing starvation, despite the fact that food is available in the country. Humanitarian organisations are increasingly using Cash Distribution Vouchers to help people secure food and other essentials; vouchers can be exchanged for enough of the local currency to feed a household.

Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) Measuring Tapes

These specially-designed measuring tapes are used to identify adults and children who are suffering from malnutrition. Two million acutely malnourished children in Yemen are under five years old – however, getting access to treatment is the real challenge, with the health system in the country on the brink of collapse.

Jerry Can

Airstrikes and fighting have destroyed crucial infrastructure in Yemen, including roads, reservoirs and treatment facilities. With access to clean water already erratic before the conflict began, the price of safe water has now skyrocketed. Families use jerry cans to collect water where they can, but many do not have access to it at all.

Water Purification Tablets

Yemen is experiencing one of the worst outbreaks of cholera in modern history, with over 55% of suspected cases in children under 15 years old. Water purification tablets are distributed to people at risk, alongside instructions to drink sterilized potable water from sealed bottles, which is unfeasible for many.

Photograph of Ashwaq by Thana Faroq

At the age of 13, Ashwaq was married off to a man twice her years. In this photograph, she is holding one child, and is pregnant with a second. There has been a 300% increase in child marriage in Yemen between 2017 and 2019; unable to afford the cost of caring for their children, more and more families are marrying off their daughters at younger ages for the extra income this will bring. Families increasingly rely on their children for money; in some cases, young boys have been forced to earn a living as soldiers.

A Manchester Wire Partnership post
Fri 17 May - Sun 26 Jan, IWM North,
Trafford Wharf Road, Stretford, Manchester M17 1TZ
, Tel: 0161 836 4000, Free
Polly Checkland Harding
Published on:
Tue 17 Sep 2019