Life ‘a waking nightmare’ for 12 million children in Yemen. UNICEF
United Nations, Dec 11 (IANS) Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said that life is “a waking nightmare” for 12 million children in Yemen.
“Yemen is teetering on the edge of complete collapse,” Fore told the high-level event “Averting famine in Yemen: What can we do now and in 2021,” noting that life is “a waking nightmare” for 12 million children in the war-torn country, which has been mired in a civil war since late 2014.
“It is perhaps the most dangerous place on earth to be a child. One child dies every 10 minutes from a preventable disease. Two million are out of school. And thousands have been killed, maimed or recruited since 2015. Just last week, 11 were reportedly killed, including a one-month-old baby,” she said.
Fore added that the situation on the ground is “a tangle of crises – any one of which would bring a country to its knees.”
“Conflicts across 49 frontlines – up from 36 in just one year. An economy in tatters – families can no longer cope. Support systems and infrastructure – from hospitals and schools, to water and sanitation systems – on the brink of collapse,” the UNICEF chief pointed out, adding that the Covid-19 pandemic is also sweeping across the country.
Noting that the UN humanitarian teams “are facing fighting, blockades and bureaucratic hurdles to reach the millions who need our help,” she said that the country is facing “a nutrition crisis,” adding that 2.1 million children are acutely malnourished – and almost 358,000 severely malnourished.
“These are not just numbers on a page. These are millions of individual tragedies. Millions of blighted futures. And millions of parents making the gut-wrenching choice between food and medical care for their children,” said Fore.
“Last Friday, from an ICU bed in Hodeida, an eight-year-old girl named Zahra begged UNICEF and her medical team to let her go home. She explained that her father couldn’t afford both food and medical expenses. A choice no parent should have to make,” she recalled.
“As the world watches, an entire country and its people are being deprived of the basics of life,” she added.
Fore called for “renewed political action,” including global support for the UN peace process to help solve the problem in the country, Xinhua reported.
“The only way out of this unfolding horror is through a political track,” said the UNICEF chief.