New figures confirm sharp increase in the number of children killed and injured
26 July 2015 - Unicef Regional Director Dr. Peter Salama has ended a three-day visit to Yemen, during which he saw first-hand the impact of the country’s brutal conflict on children.
The visit came as new Unicef data confirmed that 365 children have been killed since the conflict escalated in late March. 484 other children have been injured, according to monitoring carried out by Unicef and partners. He was speaking ahead of the deadline set by the coalition for a five-day truce to allow humanitarian aid to be delivered to the country.
“These figures underline the extent to which Yemeni children continue to be the innocent victims of this appalling violence,” said Dr. Salama. “This is totally unacceptable: with no end in sight to the conflict, the safety and welfare of children should be put above and beyond all military and political considerations,” he added.
Apart from the direct impact of the conflict on children, millions more face an increased risk of contracting (and possibly dying from) preventable and treatable infectious diseases such as measles, malaria, diarrhoea and pneumonia. In addition, more than one million children are now at risk of acute malnutrition.
“As tragic as the deaths and injuries among children are, the indirect impact of the violence may result in far more deaths among children in the long term, and could affect an entire generation,” Dr Salama said. “The conflict has compounded the misery of children living in the poorest country in the region,” he added. Unicef is calling for the following:
• All parties to the conflict to abide by international humanitarian law, and to avoid targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure including schools, and water and health facilities;
• All parties to the conflict to provide humanitarian agencies with guaranteed safe access so that all children can be reached wherever they are in the country;
• All partners to work with Unicef to find ways to scale up survival and other social sector programmes for the women and children of Yemen;
• International donors to rapidly step up their support for humanitarian programmes in Yemen at this critical time.
Unicef is scaling-up its programmes in maternal and child survival, nutrition, water and sanitation, education and child protection. Unicef has more than 130 staff in Yemen and has remained in the country throughout the conflict. It conducts its operations in all parts of the country.
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