MIDDLE EAST; YEMEN – Over 7 million Children Face ‘Serious’ Famine Threat; United Nations

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UN: Over 7 million Yemeni children face ‘serious’ famine threat

A Yemeni man carries his child who is suffering from malnutrition into a treatment center at a hospital in Sanaa. (AFP)

  • ‘More than half’ of the 14 million people at serious risk of famine in the impoverished country are children
  • Over 6,000 children have either been killed or sustained serious injuries since 2015

|CRIMSON TAZVINZWA, AIWA! NO!|HODEIDAH: Over seven million children face a serious threat of famine in Yemen and ending the country’s war will not save all of them, the UN children’s agency said.

A UNICEF report entitled “Born into War” offers a detailed look on how Yemeni children have been scarred by years of violence, displacement, disease, poverty, undernutrition and a lack of access to basic services including water, health care and education.
“More than 5,000 children have been killed or injured in the violence — an average of five children every day since March 2015,” the report said, adding that more than 11 million children needed urgent humanitarian assistance — more than half of the country’s child population — as they did not have access to safe drinking water or adequate sanitation.
“An estimated 1.8 million children are acutely malnourished, including nearly 400,000 severely acutely malnourished children who are fighting for their lives,” the report said.

“Today, 1.8 million children under the age of five are facing acute malnutrition, and 400,000 are affected by severe acute malnutrition,” said Geert Cappelaere, regional director of UNICEF.

OVER 100 CHILDREN ARE DYING OF HUNGER EVERY DAY 

The war in Yemen has been raging for three years now which has left the country in the grip of the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis. 

A deadly triple threat – bombs, disease and hunger – is threatening an entire generation of children. 

The conflict has left many families unable to afford food and water. And millions of children don’t know when or if their next meal will come. 

As the battle intensifies in the port city of Hodeidah – the country’s main gateway for food, fuel and humanitarian supplies – millions more could face starvation. 

Yemen is on the brink of the worst famine in 100 years.

“More than half” of the 14 million people at serious risk of famine in the impoverished country are children, Cappelaere said late on Wednesday.

“Ending the war is not enough,” he said, referring to a more than three-year conflict that pits the government supported by a Saudi-led military coalition against Houthi militia.

“What we need is to stop the war and (to create) a government mechanism that puts at the center the people and children.

“The war is exacerbating the situation that was already bad before because of years of underdevelopment” in the Arab world’s poorest nation, Cappelaere said.

He welcomed a call by the UN on Wednesday to relaunch peace talks within a month.
He said efforts to come up with a solution in the next 30 days were “critical” to improving aid distribution and saving lives. Cappelaere said that over 6,000 children have either been killed or sustained serious injuries since 2015.

“These are the numbers we have been able to verify, but we can safely assume that the number is higher, much higher,” he said.

Saudi Arabia and its allies entered the war to bolster Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi after the Iran-backed Houthis took over the capital Sanaa.
Since 2015, more than 10,000 people have been killed and some 22 million — three quarters of the population — are in need of food aid, according to the UN.

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