The United Nations (UN) has warned that an estimated half a million children living in areas under Yemeni government control are at a heightened risk of suffering from severe malnutrition in 2023. This dire forecast was released in a collective statement by three UN agencies: UNICEF, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the World Food Programme.
The statement elaborated on the worsening state of acute malnutrition, particularly in the southern provinces governed by the Yemeni government. Furthermore, it suggested that around 250,000 expectant and nursing mothers are also anticipated to experience severe malnutrition within the same timeframe.
The UN cautioned that, unless the root causes, namely the ongoing conflict and deteriorating economy, are addressed, all regions under the Yemeni government’s control will face escalated food insecurity.
The UN has been voicing concerns for months over the stark shortage of funds for humanitarian operations in Yemen. This financial deficit has led to a substantial reduction in aid provided to millions of inhabitants, while hunger continues to rise.
On a related note, the UN pointed out that the delivery of humanitarian aid in Yemen is significantly impeded by millions of landmines and explosives. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) highlighted via Twitter the persistent threat these explosives pose to Yemeni civilians.
These explosives also obstruct people’s movement, goods transportation, and the delivery of humanitarian assistance. Nevertheless, the UN remains committed to carrying out mine action and war remnants activities alongside its partners in the sector.
As per Yemen’s official reports, thousands of civilians have lost their lives to landmines across various provinces since the onset of the war in March 2015. The country has been embroiled in a protracted conflict, now entering its eighth year, between the Saudi Arabia-backed government forces and the Iran-supported Houthi rebels, who control several provinces, including the capital.
The UN stated that, as of the end of 2021, the war had resulted in 377,000 fatalities and inflicted a staggering $126 billion loss to the economy. With the majority of its 30 million-strong population relying on aid, Yemen is grappling with one of the globe’s most severe humanitarian crises.