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Issue #1922      July 6, 2020

Yemeni children to starve amid COVID-19 pandemic’s aid loss

As the COVID-19 pandemic is spreading across Africa, about 23,500 Yemeni children with severe acute malnutrition will be at increased risk of dying amid a “huge” drop in humanitarian help, Friday alerted the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The organisation informed that it needs almost half a billion US dollars to save children from the brink of starvation in the country that has the most massive humanitarian crisis in the world.

According to a press release published to call for funding, UNICEF says that out of the 24 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, 12 million are children.

On 1st June 2020, several humanitarian organisations working in the country made an urgent plea for funding as the COVID-19 pandemic had forced them to stop operations.

About seventy-five per cent of UN programs in Yemen have had to shut their doors or reduce their work. The UN World Food Program had to cut rations in half, and UN-funded health services were reduced in 189 out of 369 hospitals nationwide.

As the humanitarian crisis escalates, the organisation warned that unless by the end of August, they receive US$54.5m, 23,500 children could be at risk of death.

The country has been in war since 2014. During that time, more than 100,000 people were killed, the conflict has shut down or destroyed half of Yemen’s health facilities, and driven four million Yemenis from their homes.

The armed conflicts have kept 10.2 million children without access to primary healthcare; UN warns as there are now 7.8 million children unable to access education because due to the COVID-19 pandemic schools have closed.

About 1,000 cases and 288 deaths from COVID-19 have been recorded in government-controlled territory in Yemen, and fewer by rebels in areas under their control. However, the organisation believes the actual number is far higher.

In a statement addressed to governments and donors all over the world published on 28th May, UNICEF asked for urgent help as the cut in funding is impacting the lives of children severely.

“After five years of conflict, more than twelve million children and six million women of childbearing age need some kind of humanitarian assistance. Their health, nutrition, safety, and education are already at risk as systems collapse from the fighting. More than a million pregnant women are malnourished. As COVID-19 spreads throughout Yemen, their futures will be at even greater risk,” the UN remarked.


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