More than 10,000 children in Yemen have been killed and injured in violence in the years-long war in the impoverished country, UNICEF spokesman James Elder said Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters, Elder said the figures did not reflect the overall toll, as many deaths and injuries were not recorded.
New UN records show four children are killed or maimed every day – a “shameful achievement” since the Saudi-led coalition intervened in the war in 2015.
The United Nations has long regarded Yemen, where war continued in late 2014 after rebels took control of the capital, Sanaa, as the site of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
The Arabian Peninsula country faces a mix of problems, from a protracted conflict, economic devastation, collapsing health and social services, and a lack of funding for UN aid programs.
More than four out of every five children need humanitarian assistance, which when totaled reaches 11 million children, UNICEF said.
According to UN records, 3,455 children have been killed, while more than 6,600 others have been injured in fighting in Yemen, during the period from March 15 2015 to September 30 this year.
Despite the fighting, Elder said, many Yemenis are starving – not because of a lack of food, but because of a lack of money to buy it.
“They are starving because adults continue to wage wars, where children are the biggest victims,” he said, asking for more funds to help the agency.
“UNICEF urgently needs $235 million to continue rescue efforts, and that is until the middle of next year. Without it, the agency will have to stop or reduce some of the emergency assistance.”
Overall, the Armed Conflict Locations and Events Data Project (ACLED) estimates that about 130,000 people have died in the war in Yemen.
“Yemen is the most difficult place in the world to be a child. And… it’s getting worse,” said Elder calling for an end to the conflict. [rd/rs]