Eight children killed this month, as fighting intensifies in Yemen: UNICEF
The brutal conflict in Yemen continues to exact a devastating toll on children, with at least eight killed and a further 33 injured in attacks since the beginning of March, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Saturday.
According to the agency, the incidents occurred as conflict intensified along active frontlines in Taizz and Al Hudaydah governorates. Injuries were also confirmed in Al Bayda, Al Dhale’e, Ibb and Marib governorates.
“We condemn these attacks in the strongest possible terms. Too often children and their families pay the highest price as conflict rages around them”, Philippe Duamelle, UNICEF Representative to Yemen said in a statement.
“As these are only the numbers that the United Nations has been able to confirm, the actual numbers are likely to be even higher”, he added.
Violation of international humanitarian law
UNICEF also noted that civilians and civilian infrastructure are protected under international humanitarian law.
“Attacks on civilians – including children – and on civilian objects can violate international humanitarian law”, stressed Mr. Duamelle, calling on parties to the conflict to stop attacks on civilian infrastructure and neighbourhoods, and protect the most vulnerable.
“As we approach six years of brutal conflict in Yemen, children and families need peace more than ever”, he said.
Over 11 million children in need of assistance
Yemen remains the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, with 20.7 million people – including 11.3 million children – in need of some form of humanitarian assistance and protection, according to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
One of most pressing concerns is that the country is “hurtling towards” the worst famine the world has seen in decades, driven by a range of factors including conflict, environmental shocks, and weak social, economic and governance systems.
For children, the situation is more worrying. Cases of acute malnutrition for those under five are at the highest ever recorded, and in some areas, one child in four is acutely malnourished. They are also at an increased risk of exploitation, abuse and violence.
Against this bleak backdrop, UN agencies and relief partners on Tuesday, launched a $3.85 billion humanitarian response plan to reach about 16 million most vulnerable, including 8.8 million children, with life-saving assistance.