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Statement

UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Sigrid Kaag on the situation in northern Yemen

AMMAN, 8 September 2009 – “It has been four weeks exactly since the latest conflict in Saada started. Humanitarian agencies still have no access to most of the displaced population and to the many more still trapped in the conflict area. The number of casualties remains unknown but is expected to be heavy.

“Children are bearing the brunt of this conflict. Many now have to live in camps, schools or with host families, often not for the first time.

“It is believed that children represent the majority of the displaced population. Their access to basic services like safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, food and healthcare is extremely limited under these conditions. They need shelter. They need food. They need safe water to drink.

"Some 55,000 of the displaced children are of primary-school age and have to return to school very soon.

"With each passing day, the lives and well-being of these children are at increased risk.

“Those who have not been able to flee may be living a greater ordeal.

“This has to stop.

“All parties to the conflict in Saada need to abide by international humanitarian law and allow aid agencies immediate, secure and unconditional access to the innocent civilians affected by the fighting.

“We have seen time and again in places such as Darfur and Gaza that restricting humanitarian access has dire consequences for civilians, especially children.

“All parties to this conflict have the obligation to protect children from disease and violence and keep them out of harm’s way.

“The children of Yemen need urgent assistance.

“We cannot fail them.”

For further information, please contact:
Abdel-Rahman Ghandour, UNICEF Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa,
Tel + 962 6 550 2407,
E-mail: arghandour@unicef.org


 

 

 

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