Over 500 children dead, 1.7 million at risk of malnutrition due to Yemen violence
Oct.4, Geneva: At least 500 children have died and more than 1.7 million are at risk of malnutrition in six months of violence in Yemen, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said.
Across the country, nearly 10 million children – 80 per cent of the country’s under-18 population – need urgent humanitarian assistance. More than 1.4 million people have been forced to flee their homes, the agency said in a news release.
“With every day that passes, children see their hopes and dreams for the future shattered,” said UNICEF Representative in Yemen Julien Harneis. “Their homes, schools and communities are being destroyed, and their own lives are increasingly threatened by disease and malnutrition.”
UNICEF said that even before the conflict, the nutrition situation was dire as Yemen produces less than 10 per cent of its food needs and relies heavily on imported foodstuffs. However, the escalation of the fighting has caused food insecurity to spiral and malnutrition to spike.
The number of children under five at risk of severe acute malnutrition has tripled in 2015, with 537,000 children now at risk, compared to 160,000 children before the conflict.
In addition, almost twice as many children under five, a total of 1.2 million children, are projected to suffer from moderate acute malnutrition this year, compared to 690,000 before the crisis.
The agency attributes the deterioration to food shortages and poor access to markets caused by the conflict, reduced access to health facilities and sanitation, and the disruption of livelihood opportunities. Scarcity of fuel, electricity, gas, water and other services and utilities is further exacerbating the situation.
The last six months have also seen a growing number of attacks on civilians and vital infrastructure, according to UNICEF. Since the escalation of the conflict in March 2015, it has verified attacks on or damage to 41 schools and 61 hospitals as a result of the fighting.
In addition, 13 separate incidents in Yemen each killed and injured more than 100 civilians. Eight of these incidents were air strikes. Moreover, air strikes have killed and injured the most civilians, with 2,682 civilian deaths and injuries (60 per cent).
The impact of explosive weapons in Yemen goes far beyond the immediate deaths and injuries recorded by AOAV. The report uses testimonies and experiences of victims and witnesses to illustrate some of the long-term impacts that can cause extensive suffering far into the future, even after the fighting ends.
The Oslo Times