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Nutrition Crisis in Yemen

September 23, 2021

One-year-old Ghosson was sickly and weighed just 11 pounds when her worried parents brought her to UNICEF-supported Al Sadaqa Hospital in Aden, Yemen. Doctors there treated the little girl for severe acute malnutrition, diarrhea, fever and respiratory infections.

 

The war in Yemen, now in its seventh year, has created the largest humanitarian crisis in the world. The combined effects of conflict, economic decline and the COVID-19 pandemic have pushed food prices out of reach for many families; basic services like health care, sanitation and education are "incredibly fragile and on the brink of collapse," said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.

 

Conflict, economic decline and the COVID-19 pandemic have created a dire situation for Yemen's children

 

Forced out of their home by violence, Ghosson's family has been living in a camp for displaced persons in Al Mukha Governate. Her father, 22-year-old Ibrahim Abdullah, has struggled to find paying work so he can afford food and medicine for his children. "I feel extremely sad when I do not have the money to treat my daughter," he said. "I hope at that moment that the earth would open up and swallow me." 

 

Before and after — watch the video to see Ghosson's story:

 

 

UNICEF is supporting the treatment of acute malnutrition in more than 4,000 health care facilities and 100 therapeutic feeding centers in Yemen. "2.3 million children under 5 are acutely malnourished, and nearly 400,000 of them suffering from severe acute malnutrition are at imminent risk of death," Fore told the UN Security Council in August 2021. "In Yemen, one child dies every ten minutes from preventable causes, including malnutrition and vaccine-preventable diseases."

 

UNICEF and partners are providing vital humanitarian aid in Yemen

 

"We are doing everything we can to help children get through this ordeal," said Fore. "Shoulder-to-shoulder with our partners, UNICEF is standing and working with partners to provide safe water and sanitation, along with health, nutrition, protection and education services. ... Ultimately, children in Yemen need a comprehensive and lasting peace."

 

More than 11 million children in Yemen need humanitarian assistance to survive. You can help UNICEF reach them with the support and services they need. 

 

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Read more about how UNICEF is helping children in Yemen

 

Top photo: One-year-old Ghosson was treated for severe acute malnutrition at UNICEF-supported Al Sadaqa Hospital in Aden, Yemen in 2021. © UNICEF/UN0519198/Hayyan. Video edited by Tong Su for UNICEF USA.