Even before the outbreak of conflict in March 2015, Yemen faced challenges from widespread poverty, food insecurity and lack of health services.
But now, more than 22 million people – and nearly all children – are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance. The country’s infrastructure has been destroyed and its health services crippled.
Although the actual numbers are likely to be much higher, the United Nations has been able to verify that more than 6,500 children have been killed or injured in the violence since the conflict began. Even after the conflict ends, the effects of malnutrition – stunted growth and delayed cognitive development – may linger. In the worst cases, it is fatal.
The number of out-of-school children – already high before the conflict – has reached more than 2 million. Education for these children cannot wait.
The country’s water and sanitation infrastructure has also been ravaged, posing serious health risks. An estimated 16 million people do not have access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene.
Half the health facilities in Yemen are not functioning due to damage or a lack of operating budget and staff.
UNICEF is working hard to alleviate the effects of the conflict on children and families by delivering lifesaving services and supplies, including health, nutrition and vaccination services for mothers, newborns and children; preparing for potential disease outbreaks; expanding treatment services for children with malnutrition; and supporting displaced families through provision of safe water and hygiene facilities.
UNICEF and its partners urgently need to secure funding. Yemen’s needs are great to provide the most basic health, education and protection services in 2018.