Conflicts & War

UN: 100,000 children at risk amid unprecedented malnutrition in south Yemen

Sanaa, Oct 27 (efe-epa).- Nearly 100,000 children could die due to unprecedented levels of malnutrition in southern Yemen, where 20 percent of children under five years old are suffering from chronic underfeeding, the United Nations warned on Tuesday.

“Acute malnutrition rates among children under five are the highest ever recorded in parts of Yemen,” according to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Acute Malnutrition analysis issued by the UN.

“One in five children under five in parts of Yemen are estimated to be acutely malnourished and in urgent need of treatment as malnutrition cases increase across the south,” the report said.

The report, carried out in 133 southern Yemeni districts, revealed “a near 10 percent increase in cases of acute malnutrition in 2020. The greatest increase is in cases of young children suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM) with a 15.5 percent rise during 2020.”

“At least 98,000 children under five at high risk of dying without urgent treatment for severe acute malnutrition” out of over half a million children suffering from acute underfeeding, the UN said.

Al-Hudeida is the worst-hit province, where 27 percent of the children under four years old suffer from acute malnutrition, according to a joint statement by World Food Program (WFP), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Efforts aimed at tackling the issue “are being lost” in 2020 due to the “escalating conflict and economic decline, plus the overwhelming impact of the Covid-19 pandemic,” the report added.

The report expected that the situation in the north of Yemen, where data is still being gathered, “to be equally concerning”.

“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,” Lise Grande, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, said.

“Rising rates of acute malnutrition put too many women and children at risk while the consequences will be felt by Yemen for generations to come. We can stop this devastating trend. The time to act is now,” Laurent Bukera, WFP Country Director in Yemen said.

Nearly 80 percent of Yemenis are in need of humanitarian aid to cover their basic needs after over five years of armed conflict, according to the UN. EFE-EPA

Ja-ta/ks

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