Over 10,000 children have died in Yemen since the start of the civil war in 2015, UNICEF reported on Tuesday.
UNICEF spokesman James Elder said that its fund needs $235 million to “continue life-saving work in Yemen till mid-2022.” Elder also said that are more deaths than the recorded 10,000 that have gone unrecorded.
“Yemen’s humanitarian crisis — the world’s worst — represents a tragic convergence of four threats: A violent and protracted conflict, economic devastation, shattered services for every support system – that is, health, nutrition, water and sanitation, protection and education, and a critically under-funded UN response,” Elder said.
There are currently 400,000 children that are at risk of dying from starvation in Yemen, while 2 million are not in school, and 1.7 million have been displaced from their homes within the country.
Yemen’s civil war has had devastating consequences for the country’s children
Yemen has been in the midst of a violent civil war between Saudi Arabia-backed forces and Iran-backed Houthi fighters for the past six years.
Yemen’s political unrest reached a boiling point in 2015, when Houthi rebels — a Shia group from the northern part of the country — pushed out the US-backed Yemeni government and overtook the capital city of Sanaa. The conflict then became a complex, many-sided war, with Saudi Arabia leading forces against the Houthi fighters. The Saudi Arabian side has been supported by the United States and the United Kingdom.
Both sides of the war have had dire effects on the hunger crisis currently gripping the country. The Houthi have intercepted and limited food aid, while the Saudi side have bombed and destroyed farms and fishing boats.
The Saudis also created a blockade on Yemen’s air and sea ports, worsening the crisis immensely.
Although a few of these restrictions have been eased, the movement of fuel into the country is highly controlled, and many are attempting to live without essential resources. Many are dying as a result.
“If America tells Saudi Arabia, “Let the oil ship come (to the air and sea port),” then they will go directly. Because you know America controls the whole world. Biden says “If I become the president, I will let oil ships (come). I will stop the war,” a civilian in Yemen told Vice News in an interview.
The dearth of fuel coming into Yemen has plunged the country deeper into an already urgent crisis. Without fuel it is more difficult to get clean water and electricity, hospitals are without power, and food prices have skyrocketed. The latter is especially troubling since more than 16 million Yemenis face what experts call “acute food insecurity” and have seemingly been abandoned by international aid agencies.
President Joe Biden announced in March of 2021 that the US will stop supporting Saudi Arabia’s forces in Yemen. The decision is a result of legislation introduced by Representative Ro Khanna, a Democrat from California. Khanna brought the measure — now known as the Yemen War Powers resolution — forward in 2017.