DAILY FILE – An estimated 85,000 children under the age of five have starved to death over the last three years as a result of Yemen’s civil war, a report from Save the Children has found, as the charity urged an immediate ceasefire to prevent more loss of life.
The figure is a conservative estimate based on UN data on severe acute malnutrition, which the international body says has afflicted more than 1.3 million children since the conflict between Houthi rebels and the Saudi-led coalition that seeks to restore Yemen’s exiled government began in 2015.
About 14 million people – half of Yemen’s population – are currently at risk of famine, largely because of Saudi border blockades designed to weaken the Houthis, which have also strangled civilian access to food, fuel, aid and commercial goods.
Fears for Yemen’s civilian population have increased in recent weeks because of an escalation in fighting around the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, through which about 80% of the country’s imports flow.
Even a small amount of damage to the port’s facilities, and a delay in aid deliveries, is likely to lead the UN to declare a widespread famine.
“I am scared of the war and worried we won’t have food. It is distressing,” said Suad, a mother to 13-month-old Nusair, whom Save the Children is treating for severe acute malnutrition. “I can’t go to sleep, it is torturing, and I am worried about my children. I couldn’t live if any harm came to them.”
The new violence in Hodeidah has forced the charity to divert shipments for the rebel-held north of the country via Aden, a city nominally loyal to the government, causing delivery delays of up to two weeks.
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