Crisis in Yemen
In Yemen, a child dies every 10 minutes from preventable causes. For the 400,000 severely malnourished children under 5, any day could be their last
Civil war has brought Yemen to the brink of social collapse and left millions of children without food and water. 2018 ended on a hopeful note thanks to United Nations-sponsored peace talks between Yemen's warring parties, which got both sides to agree to a prisoner swap and the December 18 ceasefire in the port of Hodeida, a crucial point of entry for humanitarian aid. But the rebel airstrike that killed several troops from the Saudi-led coalition on January 10 has dealt a setback to peace and another blow to Yemen's children.
“The toll of almost four years of fighting is mind boggling, with more than 2,700 children recruited to fight an adults’ war," says Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, after his visit to Yemen, where UNICEF has mounted its largest humanitarian operation in the world. "Over 6,700 children were verified killed or severely injured. Nearly 1.5 million children have been displaced, many of them living a mere shadow of what childhood should be."
With basic services like water, health care and sanitation all but collapsed, 28 million Yemenis have been forced to rely on deliveries of fuel and humanitarian aid. But with violence in Hodeida disrupting the supplies families need to survive, more and more parents have despaired over where their children's next meal would come from. 18.5 million people are already food insecure – a number projected to rise by 3.5 million. Nearly 1.8 million children under age five are malnourished.
To meet children's urgent needs, UNICEF is ramping up support for malnourished children — increasing the number of treatment centers and training community health workers to identify early stages of malnutrition, which can have far-reaching ill effects. Tireless efforts continue to prevent children from getting sick, including an ongoing polio vaccination campaign that has reached over 4 million children so far.
To continue responding to children’s needs, UNICEF needs supporters' help.
7 Reasons Why We Must End Malnutrition in Yemen Now:
- In Yemen, one out of three children and one out of five pregnant and lactating mothers are at risk of acute malnutrition.
- A child with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) is 12 times more likely to die than a healthy child. A child with moderate acute malnutrition is four times more likely to die than a healthy child.
- If children with SAM are not treated, one in five of these children will die. With more than half of Yemen’s health facilities no longer functioning, this is a significant risk.
- Vaccination coverage is less than 50% for some preventable diseases, leaving children more exposed to diseases that can cause or exacerbate malnutrition, which Yemen’s collapsing health system cannot address.
- According to The State of the World's Children 2017, Yemen has the fourth highest level of chronic malnutrition — also known as stunting — in the world. In Sa’ada governorate, 70% of children under age 5 are stunted.
- Stunting impacts a child’s physical and cognitive development, lowers their immunity, keeps them from excelling in school and leads to lower productivity as adults.
- Malnourished women of reproductive age have a higher chance of giving birth to smaller babies, continuing the cycle of malnutrition into future generations.
UNICEF and partners are working tirelessly in Yemen, Syria, South Sudan, Bangladesh and around the world to save and protect children. With a presence in 190 countries, UNICEF has helped save more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization in the world.