“2.1 million children are acutely malnourished – and almost 358,000 severely malnourished. We believe famine-like conditions have already begun for some children.”
In a recent announcement, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore has stated that Yemen is now the most dangerous place on earth for children, claiming that “Yemen is teetering on the edge of complete collapse”.
According to UNICEF, children in Yemen continue to face severe humanitarian and health crises, with around 12 million children in Yemen currently in need of dire humanitarian assistance and protection. As of now, more than 80% of the population of Yemen are facing one of the world’s (if not the most) severe humanitarian crises.
Fore, during the event titled “Averting Famine in Yemen: What Can We Do Now and in 2021?”, stated:
It is perhaps the most dangerous place on earth to be a child. One child dies every ten minutes from a preventable disease. Two million are out of school. And thousands have been killed, maimed, or recruited since 2015. Just last week, 11 were reportedly killed, including a one-month-old baby.”
Already attacked by both war and the COVID-19 pandemic, those in Yemen are now also suffering from an almost complete lack of healthcare services as well. Fore explained that famine, malnutrition, and the pandemic have all contributed towards a horrifying rise in a dire economic situation paired with a lack of basic health care.
Millions of Yemenis, many of them children, continue to be at severe risk according to UNICEF:
2.1 million children are acutely malnourished – and almost 358,000 severely malnourished. We believe famine-like conditions have already begun for some children. These are not just numbers on a page. These are millions of individual tragedies…As the world watches, an entire country and its people are being deprived of the basics of life.”
Yemen, besieged by the Saudi-led collation, has been under one of the world’s most intensified fightings – ongoing since the crisis in Yemen erupted in 2015, with Houthi rebels fighting against the then Saudi-backed Yemeni President Hadi. Saudi Arabia, in partnership with countries such as the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Sudan, and Egypt, have contributed to a war that has killed almost 100,000 Yemeni civilians.
With 100,000 people in total killed in Yemen since 2015, many human rights groups are calling this the worst humanitarian disaster in the world today. According to Save the Children, more than 37 Yemeni children are killed or injured every single month from foreign bombs targeting civilians.
In addition to deaths from war, many more are dying from disease outbreaks and severe lack of health care and sanitation. Cholera outbreaks are infecting and killing thousands in Yemen, as humanitarian aid groups struggle to reach those most in need amidst heavy fighting and bombings.
Poverty as well is increasingly deadly – already ranking as the poorest Arab state, Yemen is projected to have more than 79% of the population living under the poverty line, with 65% classifying as extremely poor, according to a UNDP report. Described as “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis” by the UN, human rights groups are pressuring state leaders to take a harsher stance against the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.
The Saudi-led coalition is seemingly indiscriminately killing, as many civilians continue to be killed and maimed in the now almost half-a-decade long war. Many in the West continue to be shocked as countries like the UK and US continue with lucrative arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which in turn indirectly helps support the horrifying war in Yemen.
In what is being described as the world’s largest humanitarian disaster, it remains to be seen whether or not governments will finally stand up to the state-inflicted terror and possible war crimes that Saudi Arabia is guilty of.