5mn Yemeni children face famine: NGO

Sanaa, Sep 19 : A total of 5.2 million children in Yemen face famine, said non-government organisation Save the Children, the BBC reported on Wednesday.

"Millions of children do not know when or if their next meal will come," the chief executive of Save the Children International, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, said.

Earlier in September, the NGO said it had treated almost 400,000 children under the age of five for severe malnutrition so far in 2018, warning that more than 36,000 children could die before the end of the year.

Almost 10,000 people -- two-thirds of them civilians -- have been killed and 55,000 others injured in the fighting, according to the UN.

In a hospital Thorning visited in north Yemen, the babies were too weak to cry, their bodies exhausted by hunger, the BBC quoted her as saying.

Rising food prices and the falling value of the Yemeni currency as a result of the conflict are putting more families at risk of food insecurity.

The other threat comes from fighting around the key port city of Hudaydah, which is the entry point for most aid to the country's rebel-held areas.

The basic supplies that pass through it are needed to prevent famine and a recurrence of a cholera epidemic that affected a million people in 2017.

Yemen has been devastated by a conflict that escalated in early 2015, when Houthi rebels seized control of much of the west of the country and forced President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi to flee abroad.

"This war risks killing an entire generation of Yemen's children who face multiple threats, from bombs to hunger to preventable diseases like cholera," Thorning said.

The war has led to severe delays in paying the salaries of teachers and public servants, with some people receiving no wages for almost two years, the BBC said.

Those who are paid face food prices which are 68 per cent more expensive than when the war began.

The Yemeni Riyal has lost almost 180 per cent of its value over the same period, according to Save the Children.

Earlier in September, the currency reached its lowest value in history, placing a further burden on population.

Alarmed by the rise of a group they saw as an Iranian proxy, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and seven other Arab states intervened in an attempt to restore the government, the BBC reported.



Source: IANS