UNITED NATIONS, Mar 25 (APP): Nearly 11 million children in Yemen are in need of humanitarian assistance after eight years of conflict and without urgent action, millions could face ever greater risks of hunger and malnourishment, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned.
“The lives of millions of vulnerable children in Yemen remain at risk due to the almost unimaginable, unbearable, consequences of the crushing, unending war,” Peter Hawkins, the agency’s representative in the country, said in a statement on Friday.
“UNICEF has been here, providing desperately needed support throughout the past eight years, and before, but we can only provide so much support to children and families affected without a lasting peace.”
The humanitarian crisis in Yemen stems from 2015, when Houthi militias clashed with the forces of the internationally-recognized Government, dividing the country, displacing millions and destroying essential services and infrastructure.
Despite a long truce and recent progress along the road to peace, a devastating convergence of compounding factors has unfolded: eight years of fierce conflict, economic collapse, and a crippled social support system, denying the vulnerable essential services, UNICEF pointed out.
Between March 2015 and November 2022, more than 2.3 million children have been displaced, 11,000 have been killed or seriously injured, over 4,000 have been recruited by the warring parties, and there have been more than 900 attacks on – and the illegal military use of – educational and health facilities. These are verified figures, but the true toll is likely much higher, the agency said.
“After eight years, many children and families feel stuck in a perpetual cycle of hopelessness,”Hawkins said. “Visiting a family recently who has been displaced from their homes for over seven years, you realize that for too many families, little of their situation has changed beyond the children’s faces.
Children have grown up knowing little but conflict, providing these children with some room for hope of a peaceful future is absolutely critical.”
UNICEF said it urgently requires $484 million to continue its life-saving humanitarian response for children in Yemen in 2023. If funding is not received, UNICEF might be forced to scale down its vital assistance.
“The children of Yemen should be able to look to the future with hope, not fear,” Hawkins said. “We call on all parties to help us deliver that hope by committing to the Yemeni people, and pulling a country, and a weary population, back from the brink.”