More than 1000 child casualties amidst ongoing conflict in Yemen

8th October 2015

SANAA, 19 August 2015 – An average of eight children are being killed or maimed every day in Yemen as a direct result of the conflict gripping the country, according to a report released by UNICEF. Yemen: Childhood Under Threat says that nearly 400 children have been killed and over 600 others injured since the violence escalated some four months ago.

Disrupted health services, increased levels of child malnutrition, closed schools and higher numbers of children recruited by fighting groups are among the effects of the conflict now ravaging the Arab world’s poorest country.

UNICEF Representative in Yemen, Julien Harneis said: “This conflict is a particular tragedy for Yemeni children. Children are being killed by bombs or bullets and those that survive face the growing threat of disease and malnutrition. This cannot be allowed to continue. UNICEF urgently need funds so we can reach children in desperate need. We cannot stand by and let children suffer the consequences of a humanitarian catastrophe.”

The report underlines that as devastating as the conflict is for the lives of children right now, it will have terrifying consequences for their future.

Across the country, nearly 10 million children – 80 per cent of the country’s under-18 population – are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. More than 1.3 million people have been forced to flee their homes.

Yemen: Childhood Under Threat outlines the different dimensions of the crisis facing children including:

  • At least 398 children killed and 605 injured as a result since the conflict escalated in March.
  • Children recruited or used in the conflict has more than doubled – from 156 in 2014 to 377 so far verified in 2015.
  • 15.2 million people lack access to basic health care, with 900 health facilities closed since March 26.
  • 1.8 million children are likely to suffer from some form of malnutrition by the end of the year.
  • 20.4 million people are in need of assistance to establish or maintain access to safe water and sanitation due to fuel shortages, infrastructure damage and insecurity.
  • Nearly 3,600 schools have closed down, affecting over 1.8 million children.

UNICEF has been at the centre of humanitarian operations in Yemen since the beginning of the conflict. Its staff working across the country are responding to the critical needs of children by providing life-saving services including distribution of safe water and treatment of children with malnutrition, as well as diarrhoea, measles and pneumonia.

Over the past six months, the children’s agency has provided psychological support to help over 150,000 children cope with the horrors of the conflict. 280,000 people have learnt how to avoid injury from unexploded ordnances and mines.

Yet despite the tremendous needs, UNICEF’s response remains grossly underfunded. With only 16 per cent of the agency’s funding appeal of $182.6 million met so far, Yemen is one of the most under-funded of the different emergencies UNICEF is currently responding to around the world.

UNICEF reiterates its call on all parties to the conflict to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law and to stop targeting civilians and crucial infrastructure like schools, water and health facilities. UNICEF again emphasizes the urgent to end the conflict once and for all.

Children’s stories, photos and video are available here: http://uni.cf/1HOpmD3

Notes to the editor

About UNICEF:  UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do.  Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.  For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org

For further information, please contact:

Clare Herbert, UNICEF Ireland, clare@unicef.ie, + 1 878 3000

Rajat Madhok, UNICEF Yemen, rmadhok@unicef.org  +967 712 223 001

Bismarck Swangin, UNICEF Yemen, bswangin@unicef.org +962 790 157 636

Simon Ingram, UNICEF Amman, singram@unicef.org  +962 6 550 2407

Rose Foley, UNICEF New York, rfoley@unicef.org, +1 917 340 2582