SANA’A/BRUSSELS, 19 November 2012 - The European Commission’s Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) is increasing its funding to UNICEF to help combat child malnutrition in Yemen. UNICEF announced today that ECHO has donated €3.8 million for this nutrition project in Yemen, bringing the total ECHO contribution in 2012 to €7 million.
Thanks to ECHO’s support, UNICEF will be able to identify and treat some 64,000 severely malnourished children under five. They will be identified through community volunteer screening and in health facilities, where they can receive treatment, medicines, therapeutic food and access to safe water. Actions will especially target children that are hardest to reach.
Additionally, some 78,000 mothers, including pregnant and lactating women, are to receive counseling on feeding and caring practices and hygiene awareness.
Yemen has one of the highest undernutrition rates in the world. One in eight Yemeni children under the age of five risks dying of common childhood illnesses because of malnutrition, and more than half of under-5 children suffer from stunted growth and delayed mental development. One in 10 children do not even reach the age of five. Conflicts in Yemen during the last two years and an ensuing humanitarian crisis have only worsened the situation.
"Malnutrition can mark these children for life and rob them of a normal, healthy life", said UNICEF’s Representative Geert Cappelaere. "To tackle the nutrition crisis in Yemen, we need a concerted response to strengthen the health system in particular, promote good hygiene and nutrition practices, such as breastfeeding, and ensure access to a broad range of social services. ECHO is helping us to achieve this."
"The EU has for many years been spotlighting the dire situation of people in Yemen, which is largely ignored by the outside world," said Jean-Louis de Brouwer, ECHO’s director for Humanitarian and Civil Protection Operations. "This funding boost, channelled through our trusted partner, UNICEF, will provide vital assistance to the most vulnerable members of this suffering population."
Over the last year, ECHO has helped UNICEF to provide immediate and life-saving interventions in Yemen. The additional support announced today will make a vital difference in protecting the most vulnerable women and children in Yemen from malnutrition.
UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org
For further information, please contact:
Alison Parker, Chief of Communication and Advocacy, UNICEF Yemen,
Tel + 967-737-523-048,
Diederik Kramers, Communication Officer, UNICEF Brussels EU Office,
Tel + 32 2 213 0070,