“Fifteen million children in Yemen are asking you to save their lives” the head of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) told the 15 members of the Security Council on Wednesday, in an impassioned plea for action to end four years of fighting which has left at least 7,300 children killed or seriously injured.
“These are verified numbers. The actual numbers are no doubt higher”, said Henrietta Fore, who began her address with a quiet intensity, telling the horrifying but tragically now mundane story of how one classroom was shattered by shrapnel last month in the capital Sana’a: “Imagine the pain endured by the families of the 14 children who never made it home...In any conflict, children suffer first. And worst.”
Each day, as the Saudi-backed Hadi resigned regime fights for control of the country against Houthi forces, “another eight children will be killed, injured or recruited”, she said, with a child dying from a preventable cause, every ten minutes.
Around 360,000 suffer severe acute malnutrition, and half of Yemeni children under-five – or 2.5 million – have stunted growth, an irreversible condition. More than two million are out of school: “In short, the systems that every child and family needs, are failing”, said the UNICEF chief.
“We are at a tipping point. If the war continues any longer, the country may move past the point of no return...How long will we continue allowing Yemen to slide into oblivion?”
Teams are working “round the clock” she added, treating 345,000 severely malnourished children last year, delivering safe drinking water to more than five million every day, and providing cash assistance with partners, for nearly nine million of the most vulnerable.
“But this work only addresses the symptoms of the catastrophe in Yemen. To truly shape a better future for Yemen and its children, we need your engagement and influence to end this war on children. Now.”
Fore called for a redoubling of support for the efforts of the UN Special Envoy to “reach a negotiated political solution, one that places children first”.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by Website Team