SANA’A – Nearly 400,000 severely malnourished children are fighting for their lives in war-torn Yemen, impoverished due to an ongoing conflict since 2014, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
UNICEF has said over 11 million Yemeni children, which is about 80 percent of all children in Yemen, require humanitarian assistance, and an additional 1.8-2.8 million children are in acute food insecurity as the ongoing conflict causes food and fuel prices to soar across the country.
In addition, the UN agency estimates that one of every three children in Yemen, and one in every five pregnant women and nursing mothers, are at risk of acute malnutrition.
According to reports, the ongoing armed conflict in Yemen has left an estimated 22.2 million Yemenis, from a total population of 26 million, in need of humanitarian assistance.
Furthermore, there have been over 1.2 million suspected cholera cases and 2,515 associated deaths in Yemen since April 2017, according to the World Health Organization.
Yemen has been locked in a political and military crisis since the popular regional uprisings of 2011, with the north Yemen Zaidi Shia Houthi sect taking control of the capital Sana’a in Sept. 2014, expelling in 2015 President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi – whose government was internationally recognized.
Following his ouster, Hadi, a Sunni Muslim, fled to Yemen’s Sunni majority neighbor, Saudi Arabia, and is currently in exile in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.
In response to Hadi’s removal from power, a coalition led by Saudi Arabia intervened in Yemen in 2015 to back the toppled government against the Houthis, claiming that the Shia Houthis are backed by Shia majority Iran.
The present Saudi-led intervention has, thus far, worsened living conditions across much of the Arab country.