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Yemeni father's marathon efforts fail to save dying baby

The father received devastating news at the hospital [Alaraby TV]

Date of publication: 5 December, 2018

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Abdo Shoo’i arrived to a medical centre in the Aslam district of Hajja while carrying his five-month old boy Aqeel, in a last bid to save the starving child.
A father in Yemen walked for more than three hours to access a hospital for his malnourished baby, only to receive the terrible news that his child passed away due to starvation.

Abdo Shoo’i arrived to a medical centre in the Aslam district of Hajja while carrying his five-month old boy Aqeel, in a last bid to save the starving child.

The father, who could not afford to use transport, said he walked the entire journey from the village of Jayah barefoot.

“I don’t have money for transport, I don’t have enough for even a quarter of the journey,” he told Alaraby TV reporter at the hospital.

Doctors at the medical centre attempted to save the baby’s life for more than one hour before delivering the devastating news to Shoo’i, who appeared unable to process what had occurred.

According to UN figures, more than 10,000 people have been killed since the coalition joined the conflict in 2015 to back up the government after rebels ousted it from swathes of Yemen including Sanaa, however, rights groups believe the actual death toll exceeds UN estimates by at least five times.

Last month, Save the Children said an estimated 85,000 children under age 5 may have died of hunger and disease since the outbreak of Yemen's civil war in 2015.

The international organisation said the "conservative" estimate is based on average mortality rates for Severe Acute Malnutrition, which the UN says has afflicted more than 1.3 million children since a Saudi-led coalition went to war with Yemen's Houthi rebels in March 2015.

"For every child killed by bombs and bullets, dozens are starving to death and it's entirely preventable," adding that "children who die in this way suffer immensely,” Tamer Kirolos, Save the Children's Yemen director, said.

The war and a Saudi-led blockade have created the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with more than 8 million people at risk of starvation.

According to the UN children's agency (UNICEF), more than half of the 14 million people on the edge of famine are children.

More than 22 million people - three quarters of the population - now depend on humanitarian assistance to survive.

Yemenis struggling to survive such conditions are also confronted with a collapsed economy, leaving civil servants and teachers without pay for months.

UNICEF estimates that some 4.5 million children in Yemen risk losing access to state schools, as teachers have not been paid in nearly two years.

More than 2,500 schools have been damaged or destroyed, and others are now used as shelters for displaced people or as bases run by armed groups.

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