SANAA, Jan. 26 (Saba) – In March 2015, a long-running political crisis in Yemen escalated into violence.
The conflict has had devastating consequences for children in Yemen, there are shortages of food, medicines and vital supplies.
An estimated 85,000 children under the age of five may have died from acute malnutrition in three years of war in Yemen, a leading charity says.
The UN warned last month that up to 14m Yemenis are on the brink of famine.
The charity says that based on historical studies, if acute malnutrition is left untreated, around 20-30% of children will die each year.
For every child killed by bombs and bullets, dozens are starving to death and it’s entirely preventable," its Yemen director, Tamer Kirolos, says.
Children who die in this way suffer immensely as their vital organ functions slow down and eventually stop, their immune systems are so weak they are more prone to infections with some too frail to even cry.
Save the Children says it based its figures on mortality rates for untreated cases of Severe Acute Malnutrition in children under five from data compiled by the UN.
According to conservative estimates, it calculated that around 84,700 children may have died between April 2015 and October 2018.
It is difficult to get an exact number of deaths, aid workers in Yemen say many go unreported because only half of the country’s health facilities are functioning and many people are too poor to access the ones that remain open.
Rising food prices and the falling value of the country’s currency as a result of war are putting more families at risk of food insecurity.
The UK-based charity blames the blockade for putting more people at risk of famine, with continued heavy fighting around the principal lifeline port of Hudaydah further exacerbating the situation.
Save the Children said it had been forced to bring supplies for the north of Yemen through its southern port of Aden, which has significantly slowed down aid deliveries.
At least one in five households faces an extreme lack of food, more than 30% of children under five are suffering from acute malnutrition, at least two people out of every 10,000 are dying every day. “The nutrition crisis in Yemen has serious implications," said Save the Children’s Yemen Country Director Tamer Kirolos. "Severely malnourished children are 12 times more likely to die from preventable diseases like pneumonia, measles, cholera or diphtheria. Children who are stunted suffer physical and often irreversible long-term cognitive damage.
“Even the smallest disruption to food, fuel and aid supplies through its vital port could mean death for hundreds of thousands of malnourished children unable to get the food they need to stay alive.” "Parents are having to witness their children wasting away, unable to do anything about it."
He further warned that an estimated 150,000 children’s lives were endangered in Hudaydah with "a dramatic increase" in air strikes over the city in recent weeks.
"Just over two year ago, the Saudi-led coalition closed off all access to the country, effectively sealing Yemen off from the outside world."
Beasley told CBS News: "What Yemen needs most is an end to the conflict, it also desperately needs a strong humanitarian response coupled with major economic assistance."
This war risks killing an entire generation of Yemen’s children who face multiple threats, from bombs to hunger to diseases .
"Children are dying, as humanitarians, we need unimpeded access to deliver life-saving food to the children, women and men who need it the most," Beasley said.
Written by Mona Zaid
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