Monday, July 11, 2011

Happy World Population Day 2011

To increase people’s awareness on various population issues such is the importance of family planning, gender equality, poverty, maternal health, and elderly care, World Population Day is observed by the international community on July 11.

And there is so much to say about Yemen's rapid population and matters related. Here it is:

In 1953, Yemen's population was around 5 millions. Currently, Yemen's population is around 25 millions with half under the age of 18. Demographers expect that Yemen’s population will reach 60 million within the next 40 years, since the country has one of the world's highest birth rates. The average Yemeni woman bears seven children. Keep in mind that %70 of the people live in rural areas and around half of the population are illiterate.

While Yemeni women give too many babies, Yemeni mothers dying from childbirth remain 570 per 100,000. This makes Yemen’s mortality rate during childbirth one of the highest in the world, according to a World Health Organization report on maternal mortality released in 2006. A huge percentage of Yemeni hospitals' maternity units are unsanitary and extremely basic, but most of the women give birth at homes with no medical help. Plus, child marriage is still widely prevalent. Actually, many factors play a role in risking young mothers' lives in Yemen.

On the other side, the rapidly growing population in Yemen, affects the water sector. Too many people and very little water! Water experts say that Sana’a, the capital city's basin to drain away by 2025. Water availability in Yemen has been worsening a year after another with little efforts being done to combat the issue. Additionally, water experts say water shortages, which affect about 80 percent of the country’s 21 million people, are worsening by the high fertility rate, rapid urbanization, the cultivation of ‘qat’ (a mild narcotic), a lack of public awareness, and the arbitrary digging of wells. However, there are very few international NGOs working to address the issue and I just came to know that an American lady who used to live in Yemen, Sabrina Faber, has won the €75,000 first prize in the international Philips’ Livable Cities Award for her proposal to address water shortages in Sana’a.

Those were quick notes about population in Yemen and few matters related to the subject-matter, regardless of the ongoing political unrest in the country.