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Import limitations threaten many Yemeni children: UNICEF

8 May 2015 22:25


The United Nations has warned about the consequences of restrictions on Yemen’s imports of foodstuff and basic commodities as deadly Saudi air raids continue to hamper relief operations in the war-ravaged Arab state.

“If restrictions on the commercial imports of food and fuel continue, then it will kill more children than bullets and bombs in the coming months,” said the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Friday.

UNICEF’s spokesman, Christophe Boulierac, also voiced alarm over a severe fuel shortage in the country, adding, “Fuel may run out in less than a week in Yemen.”

“Humanitarian access to many areas is extremely difficult and we are frequently being blocked,” the UN official pointed out.

Boulierac further noted that 120,000 Yemeni children are at the risk of severe acute malnutrition over the next three months in case health and hygiene services fail to function normally, and an immunization campaign aiming to protect millions of children against communicable diseases does not get underway.

A Yemeni boy digs through the rubble of houses destroyed by Saudi airstrikes in Sana’a, Yemen, on May 1, 2015. © AP
He also warned that 2.5 million children under five are at immediate risk of contracting diarrhea and other transmissible diseases as key infrastructure in Yemen, including water supplies and health services, are on the verge of breaking down.

Saudi Arabia launched its military aggression against Yemen on March 26 – without a UN mandate – in a bid to undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement and to restore power to the country’s fugitive former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who is a staunch ally of Riyadh.

People search for survivors under the rubble of houses destroyed by Saudi airstrikes in the capital, Sana’a, on May 1, 2015. © AP
The UNICEF report comes as the Al Saud regime has imposed a blockade on the delivery of relief supplies to the war-stricken people of Yemen in defiance of calls by international aid groups.

On May 1, the World Health Organization said over 1,200 people lost their lives and 5,044 others were injured in Yemen from March 19 to April 27. Hundreds of women and children are among the victims, according to the United Nations health agency.

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