UNICEF calls for unconditional and sustained humanitarian access to the 135,000 children in Yemen port city of Hudaydah

21st February 2019

STATEMENT

UNICEF calls for unconditional and sustained humanitarian access to the 135,000 children in Yemen port city of Hudaydah

Redeployment agreement from Hudaydah welcome – calls to bring positive change for children

Statement by Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa

SANA’A/AMMAN/DUBLIN, 20 February 2019 – “UNICEF welcomes the recent agreement by parties to the conflict in Yemen to begin the mutual redeployment of forces from the port city of Hudaydah.

“We urge warring parties to ensure that this long-awaited step brings positive changes for children in Hudaydah and across all of Yemen. We call for unconditional and sustained humanitarian access to the 135,000 children remaining in the port city. It is crucial that this agreement allows for mine clearance and the re-opening of schools and psychosocial support centres for children that have been shuttered by the violence.

“Since June last year, Hudaydah city and its surroundings have borne the brunt of heavy violence. The area has the highest levels of child malnutrition and cases of acute watery diarrhoea/cholera in the country. In several conflict-affected parts of Hudaydah governorate, a recent vaccination campaign reached less than half of the children in the area due to the fighting.

“Fighting continues in several other areas in Yemen, affecting every single aspect of children’s lives, pushing them out of school, reducing to almost nothing the food that their families can afford, or making them pay the ultimate price for a conflict that they have no responsibility for.

“The children of Yemen have suffered far too long, living in conditions that no human being should ever have to bear. It is high time to put an end to violence affecting children. UNICEF calls on all parties, to implement the Hudayda agreement and to reach a nationwide ceasefire under the leadership of UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths.”

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Note to editors:

Yemen is one of the worst places to be a child. Over 11 million children depend on humanitarian assistance just to survive. Acute malnutrition is rife, affecting almost 2 million children – among them nearly 360,000 severely acutely malnourished children fighting to stay alive.

UNICEF continues to work around the clock across all of Yemen to deliver vital assistance to children. A recent nationwide UNICEF-supported measles and rubella vaccination campaign protected almost 12 million children against measles and rubella in 318 districts. Almost 1.5 million of Yemen’s poorest, most vulnerable families now receive an emergency cash transfer with support from UNICEF and the World Bank.

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