Six Things You Should Know About Yemen's Deepening Humanitarian Crisis

August 9, 2018

UPDATE: As many as 50 people were killed, dozens of them children, and another 77 wounded in an airstrike in northern Yemen on August 9. A school bus carrying students on a field trip was hit while traveling through a busy market area. "How was this a military target? Why are children being killed? Is anyone listening out there?" says Meritxell Relano, UNICEF Resident Representative in Yemen.

 

"Attacks against civilian facilities and services are unacceptable, inhumane and in breach of the basic laws of war," says UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore. The horrific attack in Saada "marks a low point in the country's brutal war. The question now is whether it will also be a turning point — the moment that must finally push the warring parties, UN Security Council and international community to do what's right for children and bring an end to this conflict." 

 

 

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1. Yemen is facing the world's largest, most complex humanitarian crisis. The Middle East's most impoverished country has been devastated by a deadlocked civil war. Social services are barely functional. The economy is in ruins. Today, over 11 million children in Yemen — more than the entire population of Switzerland — are in urgent need of humanitarian aid. 

 

 

 

2. A blockade in the Red Sea port city of Hodeida has jeopardized the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance. Without food imports, famine will engulf the nation. Without fuel imports, critical for water pumping, people's access to safe drinking water will shrink further, leading to even more cases of acute watery diarrhea and cholera, both of which can be deadly for small children. In late June, more than 50 tons of UNICEF medical supplies reached Hodeida from Djibouti, but they will only last so long. © UNICEF/UN0219828/

 

 

3. Bitter fighting between Houthis and Saudi-led coalition forces has destroyed Yemen's infrastructure. Since 2015, more than half of the nation's health facilities have shut down and 1,500 schools have been damaged due to air strikes and shelling. Remaining schools have been turned into shelters or commandeered by armed groups. © UNICEF/UN0219920/

 

 

4. An estimated 8.4 million Yemenis are believed to be on the verge of starvation. Mothers are desperate to feed their children. Supplies of basic commodities including wheat flour, vegetable oil and cooking gas are dwindling. Prices in Hodeida soared by 30 to 50 percent during a single week in July. © UNICEF/UN0219827/

 

 

5. UNICEF is on the ground in Aden, Sana'a, Ibb, Hodeida and Saada with a team of more than 250 staff, most of them Yemenis working hard to supply nutrition, health care and other vital services to children. So far this year, working with our nonprofit and government partners, UNICEF has provided around 9 million people with emergency cash assistance through a joint initiative with the World Bank Group, supplied 4.6 million people with safe water through the rehabilitation of public water systems, treated nearly 800,000 children under the age of five suffering from severe malnutrition and offered primary health care to nearly half a million Yemeni children.  © UNICEF/UN0219827/

 

 

6. Peace is the only way forward. "I have just come from Aden and Sanaa, and I saw what three years of intense war after decades of underdevelopment and chronic global indifference can do to children. Taken out of school, forced to fight, married off, hungry, dying from preventable diseases," says UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore (above left). "Parties to the conflict and those who have influence over them should rally behind diplomatic efforts to prevent a further worsening of the situation across the country and to resume peace negotations. We are committed to doing all we can to help the children and young people of Yemen but there should be a political solution to the conflict. We all need to give peace a chance." © UNICEF/UN0219823/

 

Yemen's children urgently need your help. Please donate today. 

 

 

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Top photo: A child waits as UNICEF-supported emergency humanitarian supplies are distributed in Hodeida, Yemen in June 2018. © UNICEF/UN0219934/