0324 GMT October 22, 2021
The executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) announced on Monday that every 10 minutes one child in Yemen dies due to starvation and disease.
Henrietta Fore told a UN Security Council meeting on Yemen that 21 million people in Yemen, including 11.3 million children, are in need of humanitarian assistance.
UNICEF estimates that more than 400,000 children are at risk of starvation in Yemen, with nearly 2.2 million in need of urgent care, Iran Press reported.
New figures indicate that hunger among children has reached an “all-time high”, with at least 462,000 suffering from severe acute malnutrition – a drastic increase of about 200% since 2014.
'One step away’
Martin Griffiths, the UN special envoy for Yemen, described the humanitarian situation in the country as catastrophic.
Addressing the same meeting, Griffiths said ending Yemen’s ongoing famine is an “overarching humanitarian priority”.
He echoed a similar estimate, saying that roughly two-thirds of the war-ravaged country’s population – about 20 million people – relies on humanitarian aid for their day-to-day needs.
Roughly five million people “are one step away from succumbing to famine and the diseases that go with it”, he warned, Al Jazeera reported.
An additional 10 million people “are right behind them”, added Griffiths.
“Famine isn’t just a food problem. It’s a symptom of a much deeper collapse. In many ways, it is all of Yemen’s problems rolled into one, and it demands a comprehensive response,” he said.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and several other countries, launched an air campaign against Yemen in March 2015. The outbreak of war by Saudi Arabia and its allies has so far killed tens of thousands and displaced millions of Yemenis.
The war spurred an enormous humanitarian crisis that has killed at least 233,000 people, according to UN estimates, and left millions on the verge of starvation.
The military aggression has also left the impoverished country of Yemen severely short of food and medicine.
Griffiths called for an end to “profiteering” and the implementation of a definitive cease-fire, which would give “desperate civilians a break and create the space needed to address the drivers of the crisis”.