Just weeks after UN agencies issued warnings about the risk of death facing hundreds of thousands of malnourished children in Yemen, international aid organization Save the Children has issued a report that 85,000 children under the age of 5 may have already died due to hunger and disease since 2015, the Associated Press reported.
The organization, which called the estimate “conservative,” based their approximation on UN data on mortality rates from severe acute malnutrition, which has plagued more than 1.3 million children since March 2015 when conflict escalated between the Houthi rebels and the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, according to the Guardian.
“For every child killed by bombs and bullets, dozens are starving to death and it’s entirely preventable,” Tamer Kirolos, Save the Children’s Yemen director, said. “Children who die in this way suffer immensely.”
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The UN has called Yemen’s situation “the worst humanitarian crisis” in the world. Currently, 14 million people are on the brink of famine, which evidently poses a particular threat to young children.
Conflict overtook Yemen in 2015 when the Houthi rebels sought to overturn the country’s internationally recognized government. Saudi Arabia then stepped in and lead a coalition of eight other Arab states, supported by the US, the UK, and France, to restore the power of Yemen’s government.
Airstrikes have since hit schools and hospitals, directly impacting and killing civilians.
More than 10,000 people have died due to violence and airstrikes, over 3 million people have been forced to leave their homes, and over 8 million people depend on humanitarian food aid to survive.
The international community is now calling for ceasefires as the crisis remains and the mortality rates continue to rise.