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Saudi-led war killed, maimed more than 11,000 children in Yemen: UNICEF

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A man carrying an injured girl in the aftermath of a deadly Saudi-led airstrike in Yemen. (File photo)

More than 11,000 Yemeni children have been killed or maimed since the Saudi-led aggression against the impoverished country began in 2015, according to the executive director of UNICEF.

Thousands of children have lost their lives while hundreds of thousands more remain at risk of death from preventable disease or starvation, Catherine Russell said on Monday.

“The true toll of this conflict is likely to be far higher,” said Russell, commenting on the casualties of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

About 2.2 million Yemeni children are acutely malnourished, one quarter of them aged under five, and most are at extreme risk from cholera, measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases, she added.

Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis, including women and children, have been killed since the beginning of the war as Saudi-led forces bomb them or shoot them, or indirectly through mine explosions, unsafe drinking water, disease outbreaks, lack of medicine and treatment due to the imposed siege, hunger and other impacts.

A temporary United Nations-mediated ceasefire took effect in April 2022 and was renewed twice, but eventually expired on October 2.

“The urgent renewal of the truce would be a positive first step that would allow critical humanitarian access,” Russell said, adding “Ultimately, only a sustained peace will allow families to rebuild their shattered lives and begin to plan for the future.”

The truce was not renewed again due to the Saudi coalition’s constant violations of the agreement and its refusal to properly lift a siege that it has been enforcing against Yemen simultaneously with the war.

At least 62 children have been killed or wounded since then, said Russell.

Earlier in October, Ansarullah resistance movement spokesman Mohammed Abdul-Salam said that “Peace in Yemen is not possible unless the invading countries abandon their arrogant mentality.”

Saudi Arabia launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 in collaboration with its Arab allies and with arms and logistics support from the US and other Western states.

The objective was to reinstall the Riyadh-friendly regime of Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi and crush the popular Ansarullah resistance movement, which has been running state affairs in the absence of a functional government in Yemen.

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