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1 child dies every 10 minutes in Yemen amid Saudi-led war: UNICEF

File photo of a heavily malnourished child hospitalized in Yemen's capital Sana'a

UNICEF, the United Nations children’s agency, says one child dies as every 10 minutes go by in Yemen, where a seven-year-old Saudi Arabia-led war is in full swing.

"In Yemen, one child dies every 10 minutes from preventable causes, including malnutrition and vaccine-preventable diseases,” the organization’s Executive Director Henrietta Fore told a UN Security Council meeting on Monday.

"More than six years ago, adults started a war in Yemen. They did so despite knowing the terrible toll that violent conflict exacts on children,” she said. 

The children are among tens of thousands of Yemenis, who have died since March 2015, when the kingdom and its allies began taking the Arab world’s poorest nation under a wholesale war.

The fatalities have, in part, been caused by the coalition’s application of Western-provided precision ammunition on crowded civilian centers and residential areas.

Also contributing to the unthinkable death toll has been a tight siege that the invaders have been relentlessly enforcing on the country. 

The war has been seeking to restore power in Yemen to Riyadh’s favorite officials. It has consistently fallen short of the objective as well as its other goals, while turning entire Yemen into the scene of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in the meantime.

"The war in Yemen, now in its seventh year, has created the largest humanitarian crisis in the world – one made worse by the public health and socioeconomic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Fore said in corroboration of the situation that has afflicted the country.

‘1.6 million children displaced’

Each day, the violence and destruction wreak havoc on the lives of children and their families, the UNICEF chief said, adding, “This year has seen growing displacement, with 1.6 million children now internally displaced because of the violence….”

Food, health crisis

"Today in Yemen, almost 21 million people, including 11.3 million children, need humanitarian assistance to survive. 2.3 million children are acutely malnourished and nearly 400,000 children under five suffering from severe acute malnutrition are at imminent risk of death,” cautioned the official.

“More than 10 million children and close to five million women cannot properly access health services,” she added.

"Yemen imports nearly everything, including humanitarian supplies. We must reopen the port of Hudaydah to commercial imports and fuel. Millions more people could be plunged into famine if vital imports remain restricted.

Such warnings have, however, never prompted the Saudi-led coalition to either initiate a dependable ceasefire process, to which it would truly commit, or even minutely loosen its blockade of Yemen.

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