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Yemen's children face displacement, starvation and bombing Open in fullscreen

Sana Uqba

Yemen's children face displacement, starvation and bombing

Millions of children face malnutrition in the war-torn country [AFP]

Date of publication: 15 September, 2016

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Children are suffering the most in Yemen's war with harrowing images of skeletal children suffering form starvation.
Disturbing images showing severly malnourished children in Yemen have surfaced online, putting a horrific face to the war-torn nation where more than half of the population live under the global poverty line.

Laying dazed and frail on a bed is six-year-old Salim Musabih whose frail image was captured by a Reuter's photographer in Yemen's Hodeida city, where Houthi rebels remain defiantly in control of the country's second largest port.

In another image, the toddler sits among boxes containing what seems like Turkish aid. On the side of the boxes, Arabic text says "I am a child, I cannot endure hunger".

Next to it is another image showing a plumper, healthier baby - a stark comparison to the malnourished yet smiling infant seen leaning on the side of a box of aid.

The shocking pictures, shared on Twitter by UNICEF's Yemen branch, encapsulate the horrors of the conflict that has left more than 10,000 people dead since war broke out in 2015.

More than 320,000 Yemeni children face the same fate as Salim according to UNICEF, the infant boy whose limbs are so thin they are able to rest between his dry lips.

"The children are suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) in Hodeida governorate," Rajat Madhok, chief of communication and advocacy at UNICEF Yemen told UAE daily, 7days.

"The ongoing conflict, along with limited food supplies coming into the country, displacements of population, loss of livelihood and loss of income - clubbed with high prices of fuel and food and non-availability of supplies - has burdened the already very vulnerable population of the country."

Thousands of civilians have been killed in the conflict with at least 50 percent of deaths caused by Saudi-led air raids.

A quarter is blamed on the Houthi rebel group and its affiliates while the remaining toll is pinned on Islamic State group and al-Qaeda militants.

Several Arab coalition air raids have destroyed homes, markets and schools on multiple occasions, but Yemen's neighbouring kingdom maintains it does not target civilians.

Indiscriminate weapons are being used in Yemen.


According to UNICEF, 177 hospitals and health facilities in 17 provinces were attacked and 25 were completely damaged.

"Indiscriminate weapons are being used in Yemen," Zahra Fartousi, a UNHRC delegate told The New Arab.

"These attacks fail to distinguish routinely between fighters and civilians."

Nowhere to run

For those that have avoided deadly Houthi shelling in cities such as Taiz - or air raids on the capital Sanaa by the other side - life remains a struggle.

Figures suggest that more than 3 million people have been made refugees inside Yemen due to the ongoing conflict. Half of these are children.

War also caused a further 350,000 children to stop attending school with many missing out on crucial end of term exams.

Meanwhile, the recruitment of child soldiers in Yemen has increased recently as Houthi rebels bulk up the fight against Saudi-backed forces.

Between March 2015 and August 2016, nearly 1,200 children were recruited and joined rebel ranks.

International human rights groups have described the conflict as a "global catastrophe", and with no path to peace existing, the future for Yemen's youngest people looks bleaker than ever.

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