Yemen has lost at least a decade’s worth of public health gains because of the ongoing civil war and economic crisis in the country, the United Nations Children’s Fund said on Tuesday. The global body also said that increasing numbers of children in the country were dying because of malnutrition-related ailments, with at least 2.2 million continuing to suffer from acute malnutrition, Reuters reported.
Unicef representative in Yemen Meritxell Relano said at least 63 out of every 1,000 live births were dying before their fifth birthday. Children, pregnant and lactating women in the northern province of Saada and the the coastal Hodeida region were among the worst affected, Relano said. Mobile teams from the body are aiming to screen more children and reach at least 323,000 severely malnourished children this year, she added.
Unicef is seeking $236.5 million (approximately Rs 1,604 crore) in aid for the country this year. On Friday, the senior most UN aid official for Yemen Jamie McGoldrick said that the country had only approximately three months supply of wheat left to sustain its population. The conflict between the Saudi Arabia-led coalition of Arab countries and the Iran-allied Houthi rebel group has led to a severe food import crisis in the country.
While the Saudi Arabia-led coalition has been fighting on president-in-exile Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s side since March 2015, Houthi rebel forces still control Sana’a and large parts of central and north Yemen. More than 10,000 people have died and three million have been displaced in Yemen since the coalition got involved in the country’s civil war.