ONE IN FIVE DISPLACED YEMENI CHILDREN REPORT ABUSE AS DEADLY CONFLICT INTENSIFIES – SAVE THE CHILDREN REPORT
Since the beginning of the bloody civil war in March 2015, an estimated 19 per cent of Yemeni children have been subjected to violence and abuse, with a further 17 per cent living in abandoned schools, and six per cent surviving on the streets or staying in make-shift shelters, according to a new report by Save the Children.
In-depth interviews conducted with more than one hundred children from the conflict-afflicted governorates of Sana’a, Aden, Hajjah and Saadah, also found that 12% are now the main bread-winners for their families, with many describing being forced to beg for free food or clean water at nearby markets or from host communities.
Nearly half of the children surveyed said they didn’t feel safe in the settlements they have been displaced to, with 45 per cent stating that there were no doctors or nurses present at health centres when they had visited, and almost one quarter preferring to stay at home when they were sick because they were too scared to venture outside.
‘We have a very small window to avert a massive humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen, but without action now there will be immense death and suffering,’ warns Edward Santiago.
‘In a country that is already one of the poorest in the Middle East and which suffers from one of the highest chronic malnutrition rates in the world, the recent conflict has displaced more than a million people, destroyed vital infrastructure, and resulted in serious shortages of fuel, food, and other vital supplies.’
‘These interview results underline the disastrous impact the conflict is having on Yemen’s children. Everyday children are going hungry and thirsty, being displaced from their homes, being forced out of school, or find themselves at profound risk of abuse, injury and even death.’
The escalation of the conflict in Yemen between the Saudi-allied national government and Houthi forces has left a staggering 21 million people – or 85% of the population - in dire need of humanitarian assistance.
Latest United Nations figures reveal that more than 12.9 million people in the Arabian Peninsula country lack basic food supplies and 850,000 children are suffering from acute malnutrition, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) stating that approximately 4,345 people have been killed and 22,110 injured since March 19.
‘More aid desperately needs to get in, and civilians, above all children, need to be protected,’ says Edward Santiago.
‘Time is now running out to avert a man-made humanitarian catastrophe.More funding is critical and all parties to the conflict need to agree an immediate end to the violence or an entire generation runs the risk of suffering for years to come.’