Yemen humanitarian crisis persists despite political stability: UNICEF

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Therapeutic feeding ward, Yemeni Swedish Hospital, Taiz. Photo: UNICEF/Pirozzi

The humanitarian situation in Yemen remains precarious despite marked progress to attain political stability, according to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

The agency says Yemen remains largely food insecure resulting in chronic malnutrition and stunting.

UNICEF says over 255,000 children are suffering from acute malnutrition, while half of the population does not have access to clean water.

UNICEF's representative in Yemen Julien Harneis says the recent political crisis and internal conflict has increased the number of Yemenis living in poverty and has extensively damaged or destroyed schools and other vital infrastructure.

He says insecurity and frequent targeting and kidnapping of humanitarian workers was a major threat to the delivery of assistance to the affected population especially in the north and south of the country.

"Although the worst of the internal conflict from the last two years has gone away, the damage to infrastructure on people's lives is still a factor. In the Saada area there are still something like 230 schools which were destroyed or seriously damaged but have yet to be reconstructed. The difficulty of nutrition in the country, part is acute malnutrition which is a function of political and economic crisis and people physically not having access to food because of conflict or lack of money, but then there is also chronic malnutrition and stunting. And in terms of stunting about 58 per cent of the country is stunted and that is amongst the highest stunting rates in the world."

Mr Harneis says UNICEF is aware of about 25 children who are on death row in Yemen for various criminal offenses.

He says the fund was working with various partners urging the government to review capital punishment in relation to crime committed by children.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’51″

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