6 October 2011

UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake has made a statement on the worsening situation in Yemen. 

"UNICEF deplores children being caught in the crossfire in Yemen and urges all parties to the conflict to do their utmost to spare civilians, especially women and children. At least 94 children have been killed and 240 wounded by gunshots or shelling in Yemen since civil unrest began this year.

"Reports confirmed by our partners say that at least two children were killed this week. A seven-year-old girl was killed by shrapnel in Yemen's capital, Sana'a, on 2 October and a 13-year-old boy perished in the same manner on 4 October. UNICEF condemns all violence against children wherever they are. 

"The children of Yemen should be busy going back to school at this time of year. Instead, they face armed men rather than teachers, bullets instead of books. The country is sinking deeper into a humanitarian crisis."

Malnutrition rates in Yemen were high even before the current violence broke out. Of 3.6 million children under five years of age in Yemen, at least 43 per cent are underweight and 58 per cent are stunted.

The country's poor have also been hit by rising food prices and collapsing basic health services. 

Lake added: "The people of Yemen need our attention and help now. There is not a moment to lose."

 
A girl stands in Hashabra Village, in Zaidia District, Hodeidah Governorate, Yemen. In October 2010 in Yemen, children continue to face hardships related to poverty, malnutrition and violence. The country is the poorest in the Middle East, with nearly half the population living on less than US$2 per day. © UNICEF/NYHQ2010-2949/Jean-Baptiste Lopez
A girl stands in Hashabra Village, in Zaidia District, Hodeidah Governorate, Yemen. In October 2010 in Yemen, children continue to face hardships related to poverty, malnutrition and violence. The country is the poorest in the Middle East, with nearly half the population living on less than US$2 per day.© UNICEF/NYHQ2010-2949/Jean-Baptiste Lopez