Most of the Anglicans in Yemen have fled the country ahead of the conflict


The Anglican Archdeacon in the Gulf, the Ven Bill Schwartz, (The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & The Middle East) reports that most all of the Anglicans in the Yemeni city of Aden have left. All except perhaps two who for personal reasons have chosen to remain and not be evacuated to return to their homes in Kenya and Ethiopia. The congregations in Yemen were mostly Anglicans from Africa and Asia. Westerners in Yemen were not safe from possible kidnapping and for this reason the Anglican chaplain in Aden was from India, but he returned home in February.

An Anglican compound in Aden, Christ Church, also housed a medical clinic. The clinic provided general medical assistance and had remained open when conflict first broke out in the city, but closed after three weeks when moving about Aden became dangerous for the staff and made it hard to get to work. The medical equipment has been moved to a safe place to prevent it being looted. An administrator and armed guards watch over the compound.

The civil war has fighters on many fronts with a divided military that now has units fighting on both sides of the central conflict, between ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh, backed by the Zaidi Shi’a Houthis, Yemeni tribespeople from the north and the recently installed president Abd Rabbu Mansur Hadi, who is receiving support from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States. Also involved are southerners and Yemeni tribespeople seeking independence, as well as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The situation has devolved into a horrible human tragedy for the Yemeni people.

The UN humanitarian co-ordinator for Yemen, Johannes van der Klaauw, has called for an immediate humanitarian pause in this conflict. It was vital that aid should be allowed in by air and sea, he said, to help cope with “one of the largest and most complex humanitarian emergencies in the world.” Aden was being ravaged by urban warfare, and one million people in the city “risk being cut off from access to clean drinking water within a matter of days.”

Archdeacon Schwartz has asked for prayers for the situation in Yemen, but also that folks bear in mind the tremendous task if and when peace returns. Aid from many Christian organizations will be needed to put Yemen back together.

This article gathers information from an article in the Church Times which can be found here.

posted by David Allen

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