Across the country, nearly 10 million children – 80 per cent of the country’s under-18 population – need urgent humanitarian assistance. More than 1.4 million people have been forced to flee their homes. “With every day that passes, children see their hopes and dreams for the future shattered,” said UNICEF Representative in Yemen Julien Harneis. “Their homes, schools and communities are being destroyed, and their own lives are increasingly threatened by disease and malnutrition.”
Even before the conflict, the nutrition situation was dire as Yemen produces less than 10 per cent of its food needs and relies heavily on imported foodstuffs. But the escalation of the fighting has caused food insecurity to spiral and malnutrition to spike. The consequences for children are dramatic:
The number of children under 5 at risk of severe acute malnutrition has tripled in 2015, with 537,000 children now at risk, compared to 160,000 children before the conflict.
Almost twice as many children under 5, a total of 1.2 million children, are projected to suffer from moderate acute malnutrition this year, compared to 690,000 before the crisis.
Food shortages and poor access to markets caused by the conflict, reduced access to health facilities and sanitation, and the disruption of livelihood opportunities are the main causes for the deterioration. The scarcity of fuel, electricity, gas, water and other services and utilities is further exacerbating the situation.
Meanwhile, the last six months have seen a growing number of attacks on civilians and vital infrastructure. Since the escalation of the conflict in March 2015, UNICEF has verified attacks on or damage to 41 schools and 61 hospitals as a result of the fighting.
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