1 Lakh Children At Risk Of Dying Due To Malnutrition In This Asian Nation
Nearly 100,000 children are at risk of dying in Yemen as the western Asian country faces a dire food security crisis, a United Nations (UN) report said on Tuesday.
The situation has worsened in 2020 for multiple factors like the COVID-19 pandemic, economic decline, floods, escalation of armed conflict and underfunding of aid to Yemen, reports Reuters.
“We’ve been warning since July that Yemen is on the brink of a catastrophic food security crisis. If the war doesn’t end now, we are nearing an irreversible situation and risk losing an entire generation of Yemen’s young children,” said Lise Grande, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen.
According to a UN analysis on malnutrition in southern Yemen, acute cases in children aged under five have increased by 10% this year to half a million, while cases of children with severe life-threatening form of malnutrition have gone up by 15.5% to 98,000. The study further says that a quarter-million pregnant or breastfeeding women require malnutrition treatment.
The UN describes Yemen as the world’s largest ‘humanitarian crisis’, as 80% of the population relies on humanitarian aid. Civil war for six years has killed more than 100,000 people and pushed Yemen to the brink of famine.
“We have been warning for several months now that Yemen was heading towards a cliff. We are now seeing the first people falling off that cliff — those are the children under 5 years of age. Nearly 100,000 of them are at risk of death,” UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) spokesperson Jens Laerke told a briefing in Geneva.
Though famine has never been officially declared in this Arabian Peninsula country, time has come to act pre-emptively, said Aaron Brent, Yemen country director for CARE International.
“All the factors are there so that people who are already very vulnerable can move quickly to a famine-like state. The key is always to act before that happens,” he told journalists.