Conflict in Yemen: Children caught in the world’s largest humanitarian crisis
The ongoing conflict has made Yemen a living hell for children.
Over 11 million children – 80% of all children in the country – require humanitarian assistance.
Years of underdevelopment, attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, and lack of salary payments for most civil servants have pushed basic services for children to the brink. Millions of children face food shortages, disease, displacement and an acute lack of access to basic social service.
“During any given year, 1.8 million children (are) suffering from acute malnutrition,” says Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “400,000 children on any given day (are) suffering from a life-threatening form of severe acute malnutrition.”
In Yemen today, a child is dying every 10 minutes from diseases that can be easily prevented.
The rapid depreciation of the Yemeni Rial and the country’s crippling economic crisis has led to a surge in food prices, leaving the most vulnerable families dependent on emergency cash assistance to stay alive.
UNICEF and humanitarian partners have stepped up cash assistance efforts to address the needs of the most vulnerable children and families. “Our investments as UNICEF, with partners, are paying off,” said Cappelaere. “It shows again that with the right investment and time, we can change the situation.”
The impact of the war has also devastated the country’s water and sanitation infrastructure and has left an estimated 16 million people without access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene. In response, UNICEF is also providing food boxes, therapeutic food, hygiene kits, transit kits, emergency rations, non-food item kits and over 80,000 households each day with nearly 50 million liters of safe drinking water.
“In the absence of any solution to the economic crisis, or in the absence of a peace deal, our humanitarian action needs to continue,” said Cappelaere. “Where possible, we need to scale up. Where possible, we need to further improve the quality of that assistance because it is paying off.”
“Our ask to the international community is to continue to be generous for the Yemeni people, for the Yemeni children.”
“Yemeni children are trapped in Yemen. There is no way out for Yemeni people. There are very few Yemeni people who have left the country and are living as refugees. They are trapped. So we need to continue being incredibly generous for the Yemeni people and the Yemeni children.”