Report : Millions Yemeni subject to famine threat
[09/نوفمبر/2018] SANAA, Nov. 9 (Saba) – Over 14 million people are facing famine caused by economic blockade, hyper-inflation and systematic bombing of infrastructure, mainly orchestrated by Saudi aggression .
The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has warned that more than seven million children are facing a serious threat of famine in Yemen as the Riyadh regime presses ahead with its atrocious aerial bombardment campaign against its crisis-hit southern neighbor.
The high-ranking UN official said that over 6,000 children had either been killed or sustained serious injuries since 2015.
According to a new report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, the Saudi-led war has so far claimed the lives of around 56,000 Yemenis.
The Saudi-led war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN has already said that a record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger. According to the world body, Yemen is suffering from the most severe famine in more than 100 years.
A number of Western countries, the United States and Britain in particular, are also accused of being complicit in the ongoing aggression as they supply the Riyadh regime with advanced weapons and military equipment as well as logistical and intelligence assistance.
Since 2015, more than 10,000 people have been killed and , according to the UN.
Cappelaere noted that “more than half” of the 14 million people at serious risk of famine in Yemen are children.
These are the numbers we have been able to verify, but we can safely assume that the number is higher, much higher,” Cappelaere said.
“The war is exacerbating the situation that was already bad before because of years of underdevelopment,” in the impoverished Arab country, he pointed out.
Ending the war is not enough. What we need is to stop the war and [to create] a government mechanism that puts at the center the people and children.
An additional one million severely food insecure children in Yemen risk falling into famine as families struggle to afford basic food and transport to health facilities for treatment. This brings the total number of children in Yemen at risk of famine to 5.2 million.
Already, more than two-thirds (64.5 per cent) of Yemen’s population don’t know where their next meal is coming from.
A further one million children at risk of famine as food and fuel prices soar across the country.
As Hodeidah experiences renewed fighting there is a real risk its port – a vital lifeline for goods and aid for 80 per cent of Yemen’s population – could be damaged or temporarily closed, reducing the supply of available of food and fuel as well as driving up prices even further, this would put the lives of hundreds of thousands of children in immediate danger while pushing millions more into famine.
The United Nations has warned that failure to keep food, fuel and aid flowing into Yemen, particularly through Hodeidah, could result in one of the worst hunger crises in living history.
A depreciating currency and collapsing economy are pushing communities to the brink of starvation.
Food prices are up by an average of 68 per cent since 2015. The Yemeni Rial (YER) has depreciated nearly 180 per cent in the same period. It now costs 600 YER to buy one US dollar, up from 215 YER when the conflict escalated more than three years ago, the price of fuel commodities like petrol, diesel and cooking gas has increased by 25 per cent between November last year and September 2018, the price of food has doubled in some parts of the country in just a matter of days.
Though there are food supplies in the marketplace for now, families are unable to afford even the most basic items like bread, milk or eggs, making an already precarious situation even worse. Our teams have heard that some households are being forced to make impossible choices like deciding to take a malnourished baby to hospital at the expense of feeding the rest of the family.
Dr *Ali, Save the Children’s Nutrition Adviser in Amran, Yemen, said:
“I’ve noticed people’s deteriorating financial situation as it’s very common that parents don’t bring their children to health facilities to get treatment, simply because they can’t afford the transport costs, people haven’t received salaries for years and they don’t have another source of income, so they simply don’t have the money to get their children to hospital.”
Nutrition surveys conducted during the first half of 2018 confirm alarming rates of malnutrition. In Hodeidah for example, home to Yemen’s largest commercial port and the primary gateway for food and fuel to the rest of the country, one in every twenty children under five years is suffering from severe acute malnutrition, half of all children in Yemen are stunted.
Helle Thorning-Schmidt, CEO of Save the Children International, said:
“The nutrition crisis in Yemen has serious implications, millions of children don’t know when or if their next meal will come. In one hospital I visited in north Yemen, the babies were too weak to cry, their bodies exhausted by hunger. This could be any hospital in Yemen.
Severely malnourished children are 12 times more likely to die from preventable diseases like pneumonia, measles, cholera or diphtheria, children who are stunted suffer physical and often irreversible long-term cognitive damage, it’s essential that children get the food they need to survive and thrive.
What happens in Hodeidah has a direct impact on children and families right across Yemen, even the smallest disruption to food, fuel and aid supplies through its vital port could mean death for hundreds of thousands of malnourished children unable to get the food they need to stay alive, it could drive up the price of fuel – and as a result transport – to such an extent that families can’t even afford to take their sick children to hospital.
This war risks killing an entire generation of Yemen’s children who face multiple threats, from bombs to hunger to preventable diseases like cholera, all parties must agree a political solution to this conflict and give children hope of a brighter future, let the immense suffering of children in Yemen end.
The brutal conflict in Yemen means communities across the country face huge barriers that prevent them from seeking care for their sick and undernourished children, including financial obstacles, the root causes of chronic and acute malnutrition and the factors leading to it are complex, but the current conflict creates conditions where malnutrition can take hold, exacerbated by poverty, lack of access to aid and low socioeconomic status, women and girls and boys suffer disproportionately.
The child (Suha)….
Two-and-a-half-year-old *Suha suffers from severe malnutrition which makes her weak and unable to eat on her own. Her mother *Manal has given birth to fourteen other children, some of whom have died, she struggles to feed her family as prices continue to increase because of the war. She couldn’t breastfeed as she is undernourished herself, saving what little food she has for her children.
:*Manal, *Suha’s mother, said
“I have fifteen children, almost half of them died. Two girls and one boy died from malnutrition, two boys from high fever and diarrhea. And the other two were stillborn, when *Suha was six months she became sick. I could see her bones, I could not do anything for her. I had no money for transportation. I had to borrow some money to take *Suha to the Hospital far away from our village. Most of the time we eat two meals a day. In the morning we eat bread with tea and for lunch it’s potatoes and tomatoes, usually, I don’t eat. I keep it for my children.”
Written by Mona Zaid