130 Yemeni children die per day: Charity group
A prominent international charity group says an estimated 130 children or more are losing their lives every day in Yemen due to “extreme hunger and disease,” warning the situation will deteriorate unless a crippling blockade imposed on the impoverished nation by a Saudi-led military coalition is lifted immediately.
“Without urgent, unhindered access for humanitarian organizations and an increase in funding, Save the Children is warning half of these children will most likely go without treatment,” said the UK-based group in a report on Thursday, warning that “if left untreated, approximately 20-30 percent of children with severe acute malnutrition will die each year.”
The warning came less than two weeks after Saudi Arabia announced that it was shutting down Yemen’s air, sea, and land borders, after Yemeni Houthi Ansarullah fighters targeted an international airport near the Saudi capital of Riyadh with a cruise missile in retaliation for ceaseless bombardment of Yemen by the Saudi war machine over the past two and a half years.
The Saudi military, however, announced that it had intercepted the missile, which apparently reached the deepest parts within the Saudi territory.
“The decision to block access entirely to the key entry points of Sana’a Airport and the ports of Hudaydah and Salif puts thousands more children at risk,” the charity agency added, predicting that each of the provinces of Hudaydah and Ta’izz — the most affected regions by the ongoing “hunger crisis” — would lose a staggering 10,000 children by the end of this year.
“These deaths are as senseless as they are preventable. They mean more than a hundred mothers grieving for the death of a child, day after day,” said Tamer Kirolos, Save the Children’s Yemen Country Director.
Meanwhile, three of the United Nations agencies — the World Food Programme, UNICEF and the World Health Organization — in a statement made a fresh plea for the Saudi war machine to remove its blockade on the impoverished nation, warning that without aid shipments “untold thousands of innocent victims, among them many children, will die.”
They further warned that even if the blockade is only partially removed, an additional 3.2 million people would be pushed into hunger. The trio also said that one million children are also at risk from a fast-growing diphtheria outbreak.
Since March 2015, the Saudi regime has been heavily bombarding Yemen as part of a brutal campaign against its impoverished southern neighbor in an attempt to bring back to power Yemen’s former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh, and crush the Houthi movement, which is in control of large parts of Yemen, including the capital Sana’a. The Saudi campaign has, however, failed to achieve its goals.
Since the onset of the brutal war, Ansarullah, the national army and popular groups have joined forces to defend the country against the Saudi aggression. Over the past two years, the Houthis have also been running the state affairs.
Latest figures show that the war has so far killed over 12,000 Yemenis. The military campaign has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s facilities and infrastructure, destroying many hospitals, schools, and factories.
Saudi Arabia has also imposed a total embargo on Yemen, causing severe food and medicine shortages and a cholera epidemic that has so far claimed the lives of nearly 2,200 people. After nearly three years of the imposed war, the impoverished nation has seven million people on the verge of famine and has had 900,000 suspected cholera cases in the past six months.