NEW YORK (April 20, 2012) — UNICEF expressed grave concern today that children are increasingly becoming victims of landmines and unexploded ordnance.
In the first three months of 2012 alone, 13 children were reported killed and another 12 maimed by unexploded ordnance or mines in 12 reported incidents.
In 2011, unexploded ordnance or mines reportedly left 28 children killed and nine maimed. These included 18 children killed and four injured in a single incident at an ammunition factory blast in the Abyan region in March of last year.
“These figures are extremely alarming,” said Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Representative in Yemen. “The casualties for just the first three months of 2012 are fast approaching the total for 2011.”
Earlier this week, three children were also killed by a roadside bomb in the eastern province of Hadramout. According to government officials, the children were on their way to school.
“UNICEF is deeply disturbed by these developments and strongly urges the transitional government and all relevant parties in Yemen to guarantee, at all times, the safety of all children and their unhindered access to basic social services,” said Cappelaere.
“Children represent over half the population of Yemen and it is our collective responsibility to ensure the fulfilment of their rights and protection,” he added.
UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization in the world. Working in more than 150 countries, UNICEF provides children with health care, clean water, nutrition, education, emergency relief, and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States.
UNICEF is at the forefront of efforts to reduce child mortality worldwide. There has been substantial progress: the annual number of under-five deaths dropped from more than 12 million in 1990 to 7.6 million in 2010. But still, 21,000 children die each day from preventable causes. Our mission is to do whatever it takes to make that number zero by giving children the essentials for a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.