About two million children are suffering from acute malnutrition in Yemen, a country in crisis for more than two years and affected by cholera epidemic, that has caused nearly 1.900 deaths and some 400.000 suspect cases, the UN warned on Wednesday.
The alarm was launched by a high-level delegation from the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and the World Food Program (WFP) after a three-day visit to the country.
“The country is on the verge of starvation, with more than 60 per cent of the population not knowing where their next meal will come from,” “Said WHO Directors “Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus”, WFP “David Beasley” and UNICEF “Anthony Lake” in a statement
“Nearly 80 per cent of children in Yemen need immediate humanitarian assistance,” they said, adding that “some 2 million of these children are suffering from acute malnutrition.”
“Malnutrition makes children more susceptible to cholera, and diseases create more malnutrition: a vicious combination,” officials from the three organizations, who visited Aden (southern), the “provisional” capital of the government recognized by International community, and Sana’a, the capital which is controlled by Houthis.
The crisis in Yemen opposes the government backed by an Arab military coalition led by Saudi Arabia to the Houthis, allied to army units that remained loyal to former Yemeni President Ali Abdallah Saleh.
The situation deteriorated further with the appearance at the end of April of a cholera epidemic in the country where there were some 400.000 suspected cases and nearly 1.900 deaths, according to the statement.
This epidemic could reach a threshold of 600,000 cases by the end of 2017, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), whose President Peter Maurer also visited Yemen, warned Sunday.
Underscoring that 99% of people affected by the disease “can survive as long as they can access health services”, WHO, UNICEF and WFP urged the international community to “redouble efforts” to help Yemen and “find a peaceful political solution to the conflict” that is tearing the country apart.
Since the intervention of the Arab coalition in March 2015, the fighting has left more than 8.000 dead, mostly civilians, and more than 44.500 wounded. Seven UN-negotiated truce agreements have failed and peace efforts have stalled.