12 Mar, 2022 20:24
More than 10,000 kids have become victims of the conflict since 2015, with the actual number thought to be much higher
Hollywood actress and special envoy for the U.N. Angelina Jolie in Yemen, March 6, 2022 © AP / Marwan Tahtah/UNHCR
Dozens of children have been killed or maimed in war-torn Yemen over just two months as the conflict in the country continues to escalate, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Saturday.
The UNICEF Representative in Yemen Philippe Duamelle said in a statement that since the conflict there escalated about seven years ago, more than 10,200 children have been killed or maimed while “the actual number is likely much higher.”
“Over the first two months of 2022, 47 children were reportedly killed or maimed in several locations across the country,” Duamelle said.
He called on the parties to take all possible measures to protect civilians, saying that “it is high time that a sustainable political solution is reached.”
According to the UNICEF annual report which was published on February 28, “nine attacks on schools and five attacks on hospitals were verified” in 2021, as well as six incidents of military use of education or health facilities. 386 children were killed or maimed “by various parties to the conflict.”
Military action, however, is apparently not the main cause of children’s deaths. According to the UN paper, “over 2.25 million children 0-59 months were projected to suffer from acute malnutrition in 2021,” with nearly 400,000 cases of children estimated to endure severe acute malnutrition.
“The high prevalence of chronic and acute malnutrition in Yemen is underpinned by an interconnected set of structural causes associated with widespread poverty, food insecurity and insufficient access to clean water and sanitation, a high prevalence of diarrhea disease, in addition to sub-optimal infant and young child feeding practices,” UNICEF said.
The conflict has been ongoing in the Arab world’s poorest country since 2014. In 2015, a US-supported and Saudi-led coalition launched a military campaign in Yemen to support the national government fighting against the Shia Houthi militants allegedly supported by Iran. According to UNICEF, since then Yemen’s economy has shrunk by more than half, with over 80% of the population currently living below the poverty line.