UNICEF: Millions of children at risk of famine amid COVID-19 in Yemen


Some 2.4 million children under the age of five, almost half of all minors in this age bracket in Yemen, are at risk of famine and malnutrition due to shortage of funds for humanitarian aid amid the pandemic, UNICEF alerted this Friday.
EFE / EPA / YAHYA ARHAB
(YAHYA ARHAB /)

Cairo, Jun 26 (EFE) .- Some 2.4 million children under the age of five, almost half of all minors in this age group in Yemen, are at risk of famine and malnutrition due to lack of funds for humanitarian aid amid the pandemic, UNICEF alerted this Friday.
In a statement, UNICEF said that over the next six months some 30,000 children under the age of five could experience severe and “life-threatening” acute malnutrition, bringing the figure to 2.4 million, an increase of almost 20%.
The organization said that after more than five years of war, “as Yemen’s devastated health system and infrastructure struggles to cope with the coronavirus, the already dire situation for children is likely to deteriorate considerably.”
He also noted that Yemen’s health system is “closer to collapse” since only “half” of health facilities are operational and there is a “great shortage” of medicines, equipment and medical personnel.
“If we do not receive urgent funds, the children will be pushed to the brink of hunger and many will die. The international community will send a message that children’s lives in a nation devastated by conflict, disease and economic collapse simply do not matter, “UNICEF Representative in Yemen Sara Beysolow Nyanti said in the statement.
UNICEF is requesting $ 461 million for its humanitarian programs in the Arab country, with an additional $ 53 million just to respond to the coronavirus health emergency.
However, the organization regretted that, so far, they have only received 10% of the money required to deal with COVID-19 and 39% of the money needed to provide a humanitarian response in the country.
According to a UNICEF report, 9.58 million Yemeni children do not have sufficient access to clean water, sanitation or hygiene, something that, according to the United Nations agency “is fueling the spread of COVID-19” in the country.
Yemen has recorded 1,019 coronavirus cases and 275 deaths, a figure that the World Health Organization warns may be higher.
Furthermore, according to UNICEF, 7.8 million children do not have access to education and some 3,487 children, some of them under the age of 10, have been “recruited and used by armed forces and groups in the last five years,” according to United Nations data.
According to United Nations data, even before the arrival of the disease, more than 80% of the approximately 28 million Yemenis needed humanitarian aid to meet some of their basic needs.