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Save the children of Yemen

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Zayed Naji


As the war in Yemen completes two years, children continue to pay the heaviest price while families’ coping mechanisms are stretched to their limit.

Nearly 10 million children are in need of humanitarian assistance. Children are being robbed of their childhood as they come under attack, their future hanging in the balance, unable to learn or fulfil their potential.

Across Yemen, families are increasingly resorting to negative methods to survive. More children are recruited to fight at an ever younger age. In the past two years, the United Nations verified that at least 1,572 boys were recruited and used in the conflict, up from 850 last year. More than two thirds of girls are married off before they reach 18, compared to 50 per cent before the conflict escalated.

The poorest country in the Middle East, Yemen is now the largest food security emergency in the world. Close to half a million children suffer from severe acute malnutrition, a 200 per cent increase since 2014. Families are eating much less, opting for cheaper food or skipping meals. Around 80 per cent of families are in debt or are borrowing money, just to feed their children while every second person in the country lives on less than US$2 a day1.

And as result... Yemen is in the grip of a cholera outbreak. With more than 30,000 suspected cases of cholera and 300 associated deaths from acute watery diarrhea reported across the country so far, Yemenis are staring at yet another public health crisis in the making. Hospitals and treatment centers are struggling to cope with the large number of patients coming in from all corners of the country.

Children, who are the most vulnerable, are seen sprawled on the floor of wards, twisting and turning with discomfort. Many of the cases are critical. To make matters worse, there is a shortage of doctors and nursing staff, many of whom haven’t been paid in months. There is also a shortage of medicines and intravenous fluids. UNICEF and partners are supporting diarrhea treatment centers by providing much needed medicines, oral dehydration salts and water treatment tablets to those affected.

But the number of those suffering continues to increase. UNICEF has also started setting up oral dehydration centers across the country where patients with moderate diarrhea will be treated. All the money donated will go to UNICEF to help the Yemeni Children



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