How to Help Yemen's Children

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In Yemen, a child dies every 10 minutes from preventable causes 

Ever since armed conflict escalated in Yemen in March 2015, the country has been edging toward social and economic collapse. Eighty percent of the population — 24 million people, including more than 11 million children — are in need of humanitarian assistance. Increasing food insecurity has pushed the country to the brink of famine. Cholera is endemic. Over 2 million children under age 5 are malnourished. More than 1.7 million children have been driven from their homes by violence. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has only compounded the country's suffering, further straining an already fragile health system, disrupting education for millions of children and leaving them increasingly vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.

UNICEF's humanitarian strategy focuses on delivering direct, lifesaving assistance and system strengthening. The needs have never been more acute.

Here's what UNICEF is doing to help:

UNICEF has been on the ground in Yemen since the conflict began, leading the way to provide water, nutrition, education and protection to children and families while collaborating closely with partners to meet the urgent needs of the most vulnerable children.

Millions of children and families depend directly on UNICEF for water, sanitation and hygiene services and support. 

As part of the COVID-19 response, UNICEF provided personal protective equipment to frontline health workers and continues to support hospitals and health workers to improve the delivery of critical services, including routine immunizations.

Going forward, UNICEF must close critical funding gaps in order to reach those in need. Priorities include: 

  • screening and treating children with severe acute malnutrition
  • strengthening delivery of primary health care and nutrition, including maternal and newborn health services
  • vaccinating children against polio and measles
  • providing safe water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene
  • rehabilitating crumbling water and sanitation infrastructure and damaged schools
  • distributing soap and other personal hygiene supplies to prevent the spread of cholera, COVID-19 and other infectious diseases
  • providing learning materials and supporting formal and informal education
  • supporting teachers who haven't received their government salaries since 2016 
  • improving school safety with infection prevention and control measures
  • providing psychosocial and mental health services to children exposed to violence
  • continuing a cash transfer program that has already helped thousands of impoverished families

The impact of Yemen's war on children has been staggering. COVID-19 has further devastated the country. UNICEF is appealing to donors for support in order to meet the urgent needs of children and families in Yemen, still the world's worst humanitarian crisis.