UNICEF makes plea for Yemen as a child dies every 10 minutes - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

UNICEF makes plea for Yemen as a child dies every 10 minutes

The World Health Organization says 400,000 Yemeni children are severely malnourished. (Source: AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty) The World Health Organization says 400,000 Yemeni children are severely malnourished. (Source: AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

(RNN) – The director of UNICEF is asking for attention and aid in Yemen, amid a humanitarian crisis that continues to deteriorate and acutely impact children.

The organization’s director, Henrietta H. Fore, reports that 400,000 Yemeni children are severely malnourished, and a child dies in the country every 10 minutes from preventable disease.

Fore wrote a first-hand account of her visit to the Arabian country for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, published on Tuesday, and UNICEF released a similar video on Wednesday.

Yemen has been devastated by a civil war which broke out in 2015, with Houthi rebels toppling the internationally recognized government of Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. A coalition primarily composed of forces from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, strategically backed by the U.S., has battled the Houthis since.

Fighting and Saudi airstrikes have destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure, and it has been difficult for groups to deliver aid. The conflict has plunged Yemen into what the United Nations has deemed the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Fore wrote of her visits to hospitals in the country, describing seeing “mothers hold frail, acutely malnourished babies while psychosocial workers offer counseling to terrified children” and “newborn babies in incubators (struggling) for every breath.”

“This is what a collapsing health system in a war zone looks like,” Fore wrote.

She cited some of the indicators of the war’s toll: Half of health facilities in Yemen are non-functional, half of the country’s children do not have clean water, and under-5 mortality registers at 55 per 1,000 children.

UNICEF has paid doctors in the country, and Fore called for assistance in funding the efforts of teachers and sanitation workers, who also face precarious conditions.

Fore wrote she urged leaders “to prioritize peace and the collapsing health, education and water and sanitation systems.”

“We can help fill in the gaps when absolutely necessary and should the funding come through, but we are no substitute for government services and our support can only be temporary,” she wrote. “Peace is the only way Yemen can inch its way towards recovery.”

Copyright 2018 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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