If conditions on the ground remain as they are now, millions of kids will die before they reach 5 years of age.
More than 320,000 Yemeni children suffer from severe malnutrition, and millions have no access to sanitation or drinking water because of the war that has been ravaging the country for a year, according to a report by UNICEF, the UN’s Children Foundation.
The report, presented on Tuesday, has also denounced the “exponential increase” in the abduction of children to fight on the war front. Those numbers have increased to 848 cases, including one of only 10 years of age.
“An average of six children are injured or killed every day,” reads the report titled “Childhood on the Brink” presented by UNICEF. According to the report, one in 20 children will die in Yemen before their fifth birthday if urgently needed aid is not provided to them.
“Basic services in Yemen are on the verge of collapse. There are attacks on schools, hospitals, water and sanitation systems,” says the report. It also recognizes that the UN’s work will be greatly benefited by the cessation of hostilities between April 10 and 18, which is when peace negotiations will take place.
“We hope the truce scheduled for April 10 allow parents and families to approach health centers and other health services,” said Julien Harneis, a UNICEF Representative in Yemen.
“Last week, we had a reduction in attacks in the area of Sa’ada, while less air strikes took place in the area of Sana’a,” said Harneis.
Almost half of the 22 provinces that form Yemen are on the brink of starvation and more than 13 million people need food aid, according to the World Food Program of the UN.
“Although UNICEF delivers lots of food in the most affected areas, Yemen, with its population of 24 million people do not have enough food,” said the representative of UNICEF in Yemen.
“There is a fast increase in cases of severe malnutrition and chronic malnutrition,” said the representative, in relation to the estimated more than 320,000 cases of children at risk.
This disease ends up causing infections and other weaknesses in the respiratory and digestive systems of children which ends up causing their death.
About 10 million children currently need humanitarian aid to prevent further deterioration in their health.
“UNICEF estimates that about 10,000 children under age 5 have died this year from preventable diseases,” explained the representative.