The Yemeni minister of public health and population says it is estimated that every 10 minutes a child under the age of five dies from extreme hunger in the conflict-plagued and impoverished Arab country, warning that the ongoing Saudi-led blockade is also taking a heavy toll on newborn babies.
Speaking at an event held in al-Sabeen Maternal Hospital in the capital Sana'a on Saturday, Taha al-Mutawakel said six newborn babies also lose their lives every two hours as a result of the continued deterioration of the health situation in Yemen, the Arabic-language al-Masirah television network reported.
“We are not demanding toys and video game consoles, but we are calling for incubators and other related devices to give children the right to life,” Mutawakel added.
He then called on the United Nations and humanitarian organizations to clarify the fate of funds allocated for Yemen, and how they have been squandered on cars and services instead of alleviating the sufferings of Yemenis.
“Stop shedding tears for our children who get killed, whilst there is no credibility whatsoever in your international reports and they do not help assuage this tragic situation,” Mutawakel said in address to the United Nations.
He went on to say that 5,000 Yemeni children annually go through traumas caused by blasts of weapon of mass destruction, some of them internationally-banned.
The Yemeni health minister also said that the UN has so far failed to open a humanitarian medical air bridge for Yemeni civilians, who are suffering from conditions that cannot be treated inside the war-battered country.
He urged United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen Lise Grande to provide Yemen with incubators, ventilators and life-saving medicines.
Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing the Houthi Ansarullah movement.
The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives over the past four and a half years.
The war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN says over 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme levels of hunger.