Erin Taylor 267.250.8829 (M)
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FAIRFIELD, Conn. (November 15, 2017) — An estimated 130 children in Yemen die every day from extreme hunger
and disease. A continuing blockade on the country’s northern ports of entry is
likely to increase the death toll further, past the projected 50,000 children
expected to die this year.
Almost 400,000 children will need treatment for severe acute
malnutrition in Yemen this year, but aid organizations are struggling to reach
them all amid chronic funding shortfalls, the largest cholera outbreak in modern history, and
obstructions to supplies of food and aid.
Without urgent, unhindered access for humanitarian organizations and
an increase in funding, Save the Children is warning half of these
children will likely go without treatment. Save the Children estimates our
food and medicine stocks will run out in the next 8 to 12 weeks, unless the
blockade is lifted soon.
Based on the available evidence, if left untreated,
approximately 20-30 percent of children with severe acute malnutrition will die
Even before this latest blockade, based on this
calculation Yemen would expect to see about 50,000 malnourished
children under the age of five die from hunger or disease this year – an
average of 130 a day, or one child every 10 minutes.
Access for aid workers and commercial supplies was already
challenging across Yemen because of obstructions by all warring parties. Now,
the decision to block access entirely to the key entry points of Sana’a Airport
and the ports of Hodeidah and Saleef puts thousands more children at risk.
Already soaring prices of food and fuel have spiraled in just a few days,
further eroding the limited capability of humanitarian organizations to deliver
There is no viable alternative to these ports for bringing
in the amount of food, medicine and other relief supplies needed in some of the
areas of Yemen worst hit by the hunger crisis.
The Taiz and Hodeidah districts are facing the most serious
effects of the hunger crisis, with a staggering 10,000 children predicted to
die this year in each region (Table 1).
Severe acute malnutrition is the most extreme and dangerous
form of undernutrition. Symptoms include jutting ribs and loose skin with
visible wasting of body tissue, or swelling in the ankles, feet and belly as
blood vessels leak fluid under the skin.
Malnourished children also have substantially reduced immune
system function and are many times more likely to contract and die from
diseases like cholera and pneumonia than healthy children.
“These deaths are as senseless as they are preventable,”
said Tamer Kirolos, Save the Children’s Yemen Country Director. “They
mean more than a hundred mothers grieving for the death of a child,
day after day.
“Save the Children currently has five shipping containers
full of life-saving food for sick and malnourished children stuck in Aden
because of road closures. Our staff cannot reach communities to provide
life-saving care and much-needed supplies and relief workers cannot enter the
country. Essential medicines, fuel and food stocks could start running out in a
matter of weeks. It’s utterly unacceptable to let children die of neglect
and a lack of political will.
“Without urgent action the future looks bleak. Unless the
blockade is lifted immediately more children will die. War has already
destroyed public services and created the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis.
It is unconscionable to punish Yemen’s children by restricting access to parts
of the country.”
Save the Children gives children in the United States and around the world a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We invest in childhood — every day, in times of crisis and for our future. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.