Yemen - 1000 days since the escalation of conflict: Children bear the brunt
13-year-old Noran* suffered a life-changing injury after an airstrike in Yemen.
Multimedia content available here
Sana’a, December 20, 2017 – Today marks 1,000 days since the international escalation of the conflict in Yemen, which has already led to the deaths of thousands of children from violence, hunger or preventable diseases like cholera.
Since March 26, 2015, the situation in Yemen, already the poorest country in the Middle East, has deteriorated into a living nightmare where children starve to death daily and are shelled and bombed in their homes and schools.
Thousands have been left with life-changing injuries, like 13-year-old Noran* who is wheelchair-bound after the blast wave from an airstrike knocked her down and seriously damaged her spine. Her father is the sole provider for her and her seven sisters but he hasn’t been paid his public-sector salary for nearly a year and a half. Life is now a daily struggle.
13-year-old Noran says:
“I used to go to school on foot, my life was beautiful because I could walk and write. Now, I can’t walk to school. I can only go with the wheelchair. I used to be able to sit in a chair at my desk and write but now when I try to write, my hand hurts because of the injury in my back. I used to love writing, but now I can’t even hold a pen.”
The Yemen Data Project, an independent NGO tracking attacks in the country, reports that there have been 15,000 air strikes in the last 1,000 days. The use of explosive weapons in densely populated areas is increasing as modern warfare becomes more protracted and urban in nature, and children are paying the price. Research suggests when these bombs are dropped on towns and cities, 92% of the casualties are civilians. On average globally, a civilian dies every hour of every day because of mortars, missiles, air-dropped bombs, rockets and other deadly explosive weapons.
The impact of these kinds of weapons are far-reaching. Noran’s life-changing injuries were not caused by the actual explosion, but by a blast wave that was so powerful it devastated her fragile 11-year-old body.
“I call on all the free people around the world to stop the war in Yemen for me and for all the other children in Yemen. It’s our right to learn, it’s our right to build a bright future. I don’t want more children to be injured like me, it is not fair! I don’t want them to be like me.”
As a result of the war in Yemen:
• 4.5 million children and pregnant or lactating women are now acutely malnourished, representing a 148 percent increase since late 2014.
• 462,000 children are suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) – a 200 percent increase since 2014.
• Based on current trends there could be nearly 600,000 severely malnourished children aged under-five in Yemen in 2018.
• According to the WHO there have now been almost one million cases of cholera in Yemen.
• 63 out of every 1,000 live births now die before their fifth birthday, against 53 children in 2014.
• More than 1,900 out of 3,507 health facilities in 16 governorates have either completely shut down or been forced to scale back operations.
• 4.5 million children were unable to go to school this term, which could have a devastating and life-long impact on their development.
Tamer Kirolos, Yemen Country Director, Save the Children says:
“It’s been 1,000 days since the Saudi Arabia and UAE-led Coalition started bombing and fighting in Yemen, and even longer since deadly violence broke out across the country. In that time, the devastation of Yemen has been unimaginably absolute. The conduct of all warring parties, without exception, has been deplorable. We have seen civilians killed, schools and hospitals bombed, and humanitarian access severely restricted. All of this has seemingly intentionally created conditions in which children are starving and are not able to get suitable medical attention.
“In the face of all of this suffering, the international community’s inaction or inability to end the suffering of Yemen’s children is shameful. We expect 50,000 children to die this year alone, and if this war continues there will be countless more lives lost needlessly across Yemen.”
“We know what needs to happen. We need an immediate end to any restrictions that are stopping humanitarian aid and commercial supplies of fuel, food and medicine from getting in and we also urgently need a credible ceasefire and a negotiated peace deal. The UN Security Council must put its full effort into making this happen now.
“We cannot allow the war in Yemen to continue for even one more day. If those in power, or those with the influence to end this war, do not bring about a peaceful solution to the conflict they will be complicit in condemning the children of Yemen to even more death and misery.”
--- Notes to Editors: *Name has been changed ---
Multimedia content including Noran’s case study, stills and video available here