US-Saudi-led war left 11 million Yemeni children in need of assistance
More than 540,000 children under the age of five are suffering from life-threatening severe acute malnutrition, with one kid dying from preventable causes every 10 minutes.
Eight years of Saudi-led war have wrecked the lives of millions of children in Yemen, leaving 11 million in need of one or more types of humanitarian assistance, UNICEF said today, warning that if urgent action is not taken, millions would face increased risks of malnutrition.
Yemen's humanitarian catastrophe is the result of a tragic confluence of variables, including eight years of brutal war, economic collapse, and a damaged social support system that affects basic services.
Yemen's continuing malnutrition crisis has also been aggravated by the war. Acute malnutrition affects 2.2 million children, with over 540,000 suffering from severe acute malnutrition, a potentially fatal illness if not treated quickly, the report stressed.
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“The lives of millions of vulnerable children in Yemen remain at risk due to the almost unimaginable, unbearable, consequences of the crushing, unending war,” said UNICEF Yemen Representative Peter Hawkins. “UNICEF has been here, providing desperately needed support throughout the past 8 years, and before, but we can only provide so much support to children and families affected without a lasting peace.”
The UN has confirmed that around 11,000 children were murdered or gravely injured between March 2015 and November 2022 by the Saudi-led war on Yemen.
Over 4,000 children have been recruited and exploited, and there have been over 900 attacks on and military usage of educational and health institutions, all of which impede the fulfillment of children's fundamental rights to safe and appropriate health and education, the report added.
Shockingly, the report noted that the numbers are only verifiable figures, as the real toll is substantially higher.
'A perpetual cycle of hopelessness'
Yemen has up to 8 million individuals in need of mental health and psychosocial treatments as a result of years of violence, hardship, and bereavement. Children and caregivers are under threat as a result of various threats and displacements.
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Similarly, the plight of internally displaced children is gravely concerning. Over 2.3 million children are currently living in displacement camps, with insufficient access to essential health, nutrition, education, protection, and WASH services, the report warned.
“After 8 years, many children and families feel stuck in a perpetual cycle of hopelessness,” said Hawkins. “Visiting a family recently who have been displaced from their homes for over seven years, you realize that for too many families, little of their situation has changed beyond the children’s faces. Children have grown up knowing little but conflict, providing these children with some room for hope of a peaceful future is absolutely critical.”
UNICEF stated that $484 million is urgently needed to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to children in Yemen in 2023. If funds are not received, UNICEF may be compelled to reduce crucial support to vulnerable children, the report added.
“The children of Yemen should be able to look to the future with hope, not fear. We call on all parties to help us deliver that hope by committing to the Yemeni people and pulling a country, and a weary population, back from the brink," said Hawkins.
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