UNICEF Says Over 5,000 Children Killed, Injured in Yemen’s War
SANAA (October 24, 2019) — More than 5,000 Yemeni children have been killed or injured since the war erupted between the Saudi-backed exiled Yemeni government and Iran-allied Houthi rebels in March 2015, the representative of the UNICEF in Yemen said Wednesday.
“The escalating conflict has forced nearly half a million Yemeni children out of school,” Sara Beysolow Nyanti told reporters at a press conference following a ceremony in the capital Sanaa to mark the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
“The situation of Yemeni children are very miserable,” he said, calling on all Yemeni parties to immediately end the war and move toward peace.
The UNICEF would release updated statistics of the Yemeni child victims of the war in November, Nyanti noted.
An estimated 2 million children in Yemen are currently suffering from acute malnutrition, including 360,000 under five years old, according to recent UNICEF reports.
In the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in Yemen, 24.1 million people, or nearly 80 per cent of the population, require some form of humanitarian assistance and protection.
Yemen is suffering a long-running civil war between the government and Houthi rebels, which humanitarians said has brought the country to the brink of famine.
A Deadly Fuel Shortage in Yemen Threatens 15 Million People
11 million people relying on water supplied by piped networks and four million people who depend on water trucked in by private companies have had to drastically reduce their daily consumption since fuel prices soared in September. In three major cities, Ibb, Dhamar and Al Mahwit, home to around 400,000 people, central water systems have been forced to shut down completely.
Oxfam has had to cut trucked water to thousands of people because of the increase in fuel prices. Piped water systems installed by Oxfam, which supply a quarter of a million people, are running at around 50 percent capacity.
Access to clean water is a matter of life and death in Yemen, particularly for the more than seven million people already weakened by malnourishment, as water-borne diseases are rife. The country has experienced one of the worst cholera outbreaks in recent history. Since April 2017, there have been over two million suspected cases of cholera and over 3700 deaths.
The current fuel crisis is the latest example of the warring parties using the economy as a weapon of war. Fuel supplies have been an ongoing problem in Yemen but escalated dramatically last month following extra restrictions on imports announced by the internationally recognized government [bold mine-DL]. The Houthi authorities are also placing restrictions on imports.
The fuel shortage is the latest hardship imposed on the civilian population by the policies of the Hadi government and its Saudi coalition backers. The “legitimate” government has been waging an economic war on the people of Yemen for years, and this has fueled the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Yemen was already suffering from a new cholera outbreak this year. Recent reports put the number of those affected by the new outbreak at more than 600,000.
Threatening access to clean water for 15 million people is outrageous, but it is unfortunately how this war has been waged on the people of Yemen for more than four and a half years. This fuel shortage puts roughly half the population of the entire country at greater risk of contracting water-borne diseases when there have already been millions of cases of cholera.
Lack of fuel makes it impossible for many people in Yemen to access water because it means they cannot run the pumps needed to bring the water up out of the ground or fuel the trucks to deliver water from elsewhere:
Fuel is crucial to the supply of clean water in Yemen. Many people depend on groundwater which is brought to the surface by pumps running on solar power and fuel. Others, particularly people who have had to flee their homes and are living in camps, rely on water brought in by trucks which run on diesel.
More than three million Yemenis have been displaced by war, and they are particularly vulnerable to interruptions in the delivery of water because they have no other recourse. Oxfam is calling for an end to all restrictions on imports, and the U.S. should be pressuring the Hadi government and the Saudi coalition to make that happen.
Yemen’s humanitarian crisis gets worse each day that the war drags on, and as long as the U.S. supports this war our government shares in the responsibility for creating this catastrophe.
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