Here's How UNICEF Is Helping Children in Yemen

December 10, 2019

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After nearly five years of conflict, Yemen has become the world's largest humanitarian crisis. Eighty percent of Yemen's population — 24 million people —  are living in poverty and deprivation, with more than 12 million children in dire need of humanitarian assistance.

 

UNICEF has been on the ground in Yemen since the crisis began, working to save children's lives, help them recover from the impact of war and ensure that they can get back to learning and playing.

 

 Children sit in front of a house damaged by an air strike inside the old city of Sana'a, Yemen on July 20, 2019. UNICEF works with partners to educate children about the dangers of unexploded remnants of war. © UNICEF/UNI220712/Romenzi

 

Health care and nutrition support

Food insecurity is increasingly threatening the health of Yemen's children. More than 368,000 children under age 5 are suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM), which can be life-threatening if left untreated. UNICEF and partners work with local health workers to screen and treat children for malnutrition, starting with the most vulnerable, providing timely assessments, essential Ready-to-Eat Therapeutic Food and medical supplies. 

 

In Yemen's Hajjah Governate, a UNICEF-supported community health worker checks a baby's mid-upper arm circumference to assess her nutritional health in March 2019. The red zone indicates a circumference of less than 11.5 centimeters, signalling a potentially fatal level of malnutrition. © UNICEF/UN0318650/Almahbashi

 

Water, sanitation and hygiene

The threat of cholera and acute watery diarrhea continues to loom high in Yemen. In 2017, the country experienced a devastating cholera outbreak. Working with partners, UNICEF has scaled up emergency water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) assistance, building capacity of local WASH authorities, solarizing water systems and harvesting rainwater. An estimated 5.4 million Yemenis now have access to safe water and 16 million people living in cholera-prone areas have benefitted from water treatment.

 

The job of fetching a family's water often falls to the daughters. Above, a girl takes a break on the way to a water point at a camp for internally displaced persons in Aden, Yemen on December 4, 2018. © UNICEF/UN0262513/Abdulhaleem

 

Education

As of the start of the new academic year in September 2019, at least 2 million children across Yemen are out of school. UNICEF is adamant about helping these children get back to learning so they can create a better future for themselves and for their nation. With the support of partners, UNICEF is continuing to rehabilitate damaged school buildings and establishing temporary safe learning spaces where children can resume their educations. UNICEF is also providing cash incentives to teachers and school-based staff and educational supplies to keep children learning. To date in 2019, UNICEF has provided access to education for 216,464 children, and aims to reach 800,000 by the end of 2020. 

 

Displaced from his home in Taiz, Yemen, 12-year-old Azmi is continuing his education in Aden City, Yemen, with support from UNICEF. © UNICEF/UN0188088/Fuad

 

Cash assistance

In an effort to prevent the country from economic collapse and help families struggling to survive amidst spiraling inflation, UNICEF established the Yemen Emergency Cash Transfer (ECT) project in 2017. The ECT project gives dignity and choice to financially vulnerable families so they can prioritize their most urgent purchasing needs, such as food, medicine and warm clothing for their children. As of UNICEF's fifth payment cycle in July, nearly 9 million people across Yemen have benefitted from unconditional emergency cash assistance.

 

A family from Amran Governate in Yemen shares lunch on July 12, 2019. The family used money they received through the Emergency Cash Transfer project to purchase food. © UNICEF/UN0326764/

 

As the conflict in Yemen drags on, UNICEF continues to take every measure possible to protect the rights and safety of millions of Yemeni children. But UNICEF can't do it alone. There is an urgent need for individuals, organizations and governments to come together and take action. Every child in Yemen deserves a safe and happy childhood. Please give generously. 

 

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Top photo: Children sit outside their tent at Al-Meshqafah camp for displaced persons in southern Yemen's Lahj Governate in February 2019. © UNICEF/UN0320192/Baholis