The Middle Eastern nation of Yemen has been plagued by eight years of devastating conflict disproportionately affecting its children. The Yemeni conflict remains one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world, with more than 11 million children in need of humanitarian assistance. Child malnutrition in Yemen, alongside food insecurity and hunger, has reached alarming levels in the heart of this turmoil. Xavier Joubert, Save the Children’s Country Director for Yemen, underscores the harsh reality facing Yemeni children:
“Hunger in Yemen is an entirely human-made legacy of this war, and the increase in child malnutrition levels around conflict lines shows the impact of this brutal conflict on children.”
Despite the ongoing conflict, hope is emerging from the efforts of numerous organizations. This article sheds light on the dire challenges these children face daily while highlighting the unwavering dedication of organizations working to mitigate their suffering.
Amidst Yemen’s enduring conflict, the crisis affecting its children has reached catastrophic proportions. This nation is grappling with one of the world’s most significant humanitarian crises, where more than 11 million children are in dire need of humanitarian assistance. Child malnutrition in Yemen has surged to alarming levels, with nearly 2.2 million children under the age of five in Yemen acutely malnourished, and more than 500,000 facing severe malnutrition.
The repercussions of this crisis on Yemen’s children are profound and enduring. Malnutrition not only jeopardizes their immediate well-being but also their long-term growth and cognitive abilities. The compounding effect of malnutrition and the ongoing conflict leaves so many children without access to essential health care, clean water and adequate sanitation. This is further exacerbated by the scarcity of essential food items and the destruction of critical infrastructure. Yemen’s children are carrying the heaviest burden amid the ongoing conflict, and the repercussions on their health and future are immeasurable.
Working for Change
Amidst the seemingly bleak landscape, various organizations have stepped forward to combat the malnutrition epidemic to alleviate the suffering occurring within this nation. The organization War Child is a prime example of the life-changing work occurring to improve these children’s lives. War Child has been tirelessly working to provide access to healthcare, clean water and nutritional support to children in need. UNICEF is also a notable organization instrumental in providing health care, education and nutrition support to the vulnerable young children in Yemen. Continued is their unwavering efforts to save young lives and build a better and sustainable future.
Stories of Hope
Despite the immense challenges and continued conflict within Yemen, stories of hope and resilience are emerging. Children who have received critical support from these organizations are on their way to recovery. Their strength and the unwavering commitment of these organizations showcase the resilience of the human spirit, even in the face of the harshest circumstances.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has played a crucial role in this effort. WHO has trained almost 400 health workers on managing medical complications in children suffering from severe acute malnutrition. To increase families’ awareness and knowledge of basic nutritional and preventive health requirements for children, as well as to promote the importance of the continuity of breastfeeding, WHO trained 1,277 community health and nutrition volunteers and midwives. These trained individuals communicate key health and nutrition messages to the most affected vulnerable communities in 28 districts.
In addition to this, WHO has developed awareness messages for TV and radio, ensuring that these important messages reach a wider audience. It has also engaged communities through various platforms, including religious, youth and women’s groups. These comprehensive efforts are making a tangible difference in the lives of Yemen’s children — offering them hope and the prospect of a brighter and healthier future.
While child malnutrition in Yemen remains a pressing issue, and the ongoing conflict only exacerbates the situation, the dedicated efforts of organizations working in Yemen provide a glimmer of hope. With continued support and awareness, there exists a possibility for positive change in the lives of Yemen’s children. The world must remain engaged in addressing this crisis, as the future of Yemen’s children depends on it. Together, we can make a difference and bring hope to a nation facing immense challenges.
– Phoebe Abrahams