Two million children out of school in war-torn Yemen: UNICEF

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The United Nations children’s agency, UNICEF, says violence has left over two million children out of school in Yemen, which has been under relentless Saudi attacks for more than a year.

On Tuesday, the agency’s Yemen Representative, Julien Harneis, said 350,000 children got no education last year amid the deadly violence, which led to the closure of many schools across Yemen.

With last year’s figures, there are currently over two million out-of-school kids across the war-torn country, added the UNICEF official.

“Children were killed on their way to school or while at school,” Harneis said. “Parties to the conflict should keep children and schools out of harm to give education a chance.”

Saudi Arabia has been waging a military campaign against Yemen since March 2015 to restore power to the former Yemeni government, a close ally of Riyadh.

The UN said in late August that more than 10,000 people have lost their lives since last March.

Riyadh’s military is blamed by the world body and prominent rights groups for most of the civilian deaths in the impoverished country.

The UNICEF estimates that 2,108 schools across the country can no longer be used. The agency is asking for USD 34 million for restoration of the country’s education system.

Famine looming large

The country is, meanwhile, grappling with a severe food shortage amid a naval blockade imposed by Riyadh, which prevents shipments to most of its ports.

According to the agency, there are 370,000 children enduring severe malnutrition in the already-impoverished nation, and 1.5 million are going hungry.

Also on Tuesday, the UN’s humanitarian aid chief, Stephen O’Brien recounted his observations following a visit to the port city of al-Hudaydah in western Yemen.

“It is of course absolutely devastating when you see such terrible malnutrition,” he said, warning of “very severe needs.”

Altogether, there are 28 million people short of food in the Arabian Peninsula’s poorest country, the UN estimates.

www.arabic-news.de

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