The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has warned that kids in Yemen are suffering from highest ever recorded rates of malnutrition amid scarcity of food supplies due to Saudi Arabia’s devastating military campaign against its southern neighbor.
UNICEF said in a report published on its website on Monday that nearly 2.2 million children in Yemen were acutely malnourished and needed urgent care, adding that most of them, around 1.7 million, were suffering from moderate acute malnutrition.
The UN agency said close to half a million children in Yemen were also grappling with severe acute malnutrition, adding that the figure showed a drastic increase of almost 200 percent, compared to what was recorded in 2014.
The report said the worst affected areas were located in the provinces of Hudaydah, Sa’ada, Ta'izz, Hajjah and Lahij, which together have the highest of all cases of severe acute malnutrition in Yemen.
The province of Sa’ada, located to the north of the capital, has the world’s highest stunting rates amongst children, with an unprecedented eight out of 10 children in some areas being chronically malnourished.
“Malnutrition in Yemen is at an all-time high and increasing,” said UNICEF’s envoy to Yemen, Meritxell Relano, adding, “The state of health of children in the Middle East’s poorest country has never been as catastrophic as it is today.”
Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, has been under Saudi Arabia’s attacks since March 2015. Riyadh’s military aggression, which has killed at least 11,400 people, has been meant to undermine the Ansarullah movement and bring back the resigned Yemeni president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, to power.