Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism –Millions of children in Yemen could be pushed to ‘the brink of starvation’ due to huge shortfalls in humanitarian aid funding amid the COVID-19 pandemic – according to a new UNICEF report marking more than five years since conflict escalated in the country.
Yemen five years on: Children, conflict and COVID-19 warns that as Yemen’s devastated health system and infrastructure struggle to cope with coronavirus, the already dire situation for children is likely to deteriorate considerably. The report shows that:
An additional 30,000 children could develop life-threatening severe acute malnutrition over the next six months, and the overall number of malnourished children under the age of five could increase to a total of 2.4 million –almost half of all under-fives in the country and a rise of around 20 per cent;
An additional 6,600 children under the age of five could die from preventable causes by the end of the year – an increase of 28 per cent*;
“We cannot overstate the scale of this emergency as children, in what is already the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, battle for survival as COVID-19 takes hold,” said Sara Beysolow Nyanti, UNICEF Representative to Yemen. “If we do not receive urgent funding, children will be pushed to the brink of starvation and many will die. The international community will be sending a message that the lives of children in a nation devastated by conflict, disease and economic collapse, simply do not matter.”
The report warns that unless US$54.5 million is received for health and nutrition services by the end of August:
23500 children with severe acute malnutrition will be at increased risk of dying;
Up to one million children will not receive vital micronutrient supplements and vitamin A, and 500,000 pregnant and breastfeeding mothers will miss out on essential nutrition support including counselling on infant and young child feeding, and folic acid and iron supplements;
Five million children under the age of five years will not be immunised against killer diseases.