UNICEF: 10 million Yemeni children need urgent help

Most children in Yemen lack medical care, adequate nutrition, fresh water, sanitation and education, UN body says.

Women accompany cholera-infected children at a hospital in Sanaa
There have been 270,000 suspected cases of cholera in Yemen [Khaled Abdullah/Reuters]

About 10 million children in Yemen are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, according to UNICEF, as the country copes with the war between the Saudi-backed government forces and the Houthi rebels.

In a statement posted on its official Facebook page on Thursday, UNICEF’s Yemen office said that most children in Yemen lacked basic medical care, adequate nutrition, fresh drinking water, suitable sanitation and education.

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The World Food Programme said more than 17 million Yemenis do not know where their next meal will come from.

Also on Thursday, Jamie McGoldrick, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Yemen, said at a news conference in the capital, Sanaa, that aid groups in Yemen have pulled resources from the fight against malnutrition to battle the cholera outbreak in the country, raising risk of famine as they struggle to find funds.

“We’re trying to do our best, but it’s very much beyond what we can cope with,” he said.

Cholera outbreak

On Wednesday, Stephane Dujarric, the UN spokesman, said the cholera outbreak that started in April has spread to Yemen’s all 21 governorates.

There have been 270,000 suspected cases of cholera in Yemen and more than 1,600 deaths from the disease since late April, he said.

He said the World Health Organisation and its partners received 400 tonnes of medical supplies and equipment on Tuesday, including 30 ambulances and kits to treat 10,000 people in Aden and Hodeida.

Dujarric told reporters on Wednesday that WHO’s partners will set up 2,350 beds at 600 points throughout Yemen to treat cholera victims with oral rehydration.

A two-year Saudi-led campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen has damaged infrastructure and caused medicine shortages in the Arab world’s poorest country.

According to UN officials, more than 10,000 people have been killed in the war, while more than 11 percent of the population has been displaced as a direct result of the conflict.

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Source: News Agencies