Cappelaere spoke during a news conference in Amman, on Sunday, after visiting Yemen that “Yemen is today a living hell — not for 50 to 60% of the children — it is a living hell for every boy and girl in Yemen.”
According to UNICEF, 1.8 million Yemeni children under the age of five suffer from acute malnutrition and each day 400,000 from severe acute malnutrition.
Cappelaere also said that “30,000 children die of malnutrition each year in Yemen,” adding “while a child dies every 10 minutes from easily preventable diseases.”
Upon Cappelaere’s visit to al-Thawra hospital, the only remaining referral hospital in al-Hudayda, he noted that “half of Yemen’s under-age-five children are chronically malnourished and more than a million pregnant or lactating women are anemic.”
“When giving birth, these women know that their children will be of low birth weight, starting that cycle of malnutrition and leading to chronic malnutrition and all the health consequences for these boys and girls.”
He stressed the figures were “a reminder for all of us to realize how dire the situation has become.”
Cappelaere called on the warring parties to join proposed peace talks later this month and agree to a ceasefire and a road to peace for Yemen, which “is incredibly needed.”
Despite growing international pressure to end a conflict that has left Yemen on the brink of famine, fighting has intensified in the rebel-held Red Sea port city of Hodeida, which is the entry point of more than 70% of imports into Yemen, leading to the appeal for peace talks.
Meanwhile, Angelina Jolie, the Special Envoy for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) called for an urgent and lasting ceasefire to the Yemen conflict, and advocated for vitally-needed support for Yemeni refugees globally. Jolie stressed “As an international community we have been shamefully slow to act to end the crisis in Yemen.”
She added “We have watched the situation deteriorate to the point that Yemen is now on the brink of man-made famine and facing the worst cholera epidemic in the world in decades.”