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Geneva Palais Briefing Note: The impact of the closure of all air, land and sea ports of Yemen on children

© UNICEF/Fuad
A child suffering from suspected cholera has his arm measured by a health professional with a Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) measuring tape to determine whether or not he is also suffering from malnutrition, at the Alsadaqah Hospital, Aden, Yemen.

This is a summary of what was said by Meritxell Relano, UNICEF Representative in Yemen – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

GENEVA, 10 November 2017 – Yemen is facing the largest humanitarian crisis and the worst food crisis in the world. Nearly 7 million people do not know where their next meal will come from and the survival of millions of people depends on humanitarian assistance operations.  You have all seen the statements from the humanitarian community in Yemen and from the Emergency Relief Coordinator based on his last visit on the ground. Fuel, medicines and food are essential in this context. And in order to get them in, we need access.

ACCESS

The recent closure of the Yemen’s airspace, sea and land ports has worsened the already shrinking space for the lifesaving humanitarian work. It is blocking the delivery of vital humanitarian assistance to children in desperate need in Yemen. And it is making a catastrophic situation for children far worse. The port of Hodeida is where most of the humanitarian supplies enter and it is essential that the port resumes its activity.

Also, because missions on the ground are not possible, blocking the movement of humanitarian workers and supplies, this means that millions of children will be deprived of lifesaving humanitarian assistance.

IMPACT

Let me give you some examples of the impact of the closure of the entry points to the country:

The current stocks of fuel will only last until the end of November. We need fuel to maintain health centers open and water systems functioning (both for distributing water and for treating used water). The price of existing fuel has increased by 60%.

If fuel stocks are not replenished:
• UNICEF’s ongoing WASH response to respond to the cholera outbreak is likely to be affected. This could impact nearly 6 million people living in cholera high-risk districts.
• The operating water supply systems and waste water treatment plants will stop functioning, causing unimaginable risks.
• The functionality and mobility of the Rapid Response Teams, serving nearly half a million every week, will be hindered.
• Due to shortage of fuel supply, 22 Governorates/District cold rooms/district vaccine stores are at a major risk of being shut down. Vaccines for thousands of children could be damaged.

If vaccines are blocked from reaching Yemen, at least 1 million children under the age of one will be at risk of diseases including polio and measles:

o The current stock of vaccines in the country will last 1 month
o Shortage of medical supplies will only worsen the Diphtheria outbreak recently reported in five districts of Ibb. About 87 suspected cases were reported with nine associated deaths.

With more than 60 per cent of population food insecure, the closure of the Yemen’s airspace, sea and land ports will lead to more deterioration in food security level which will worsen malnutrition rates.

Children are suffering from severe malnutrition and diseases that could be easily prevented. Children need urgent care and any disruption in bringing in therapeutic nutrition supplies will only mean that more children in Yemen will die.

UNICEF calls on all parties to the conflict in Yemen to allow and facilitate safe, sustainable, rapid and unhindered humanitarian access to all children and families in need, through land, air and sea.

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Multimedia assets available for download here: https://weshare.unicef.org/Package/2AM40805FSQX

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children in Yemen visit http://uni.cf/yemencrisis

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For more information, please contact:

Juliette Touma, UNICEF Regional Office Amman, +962 79 867 4628jtouma@unicef.org
Chris Tidey, UNICEF New York, Tel: +1 917 340 3017 , ctidey@unicef.org
Marixie Mercado, UNICEF Geneva, +4179 559 7172 mmercado@unicef.org
Christophe Boulierac, UNICEF Geneva, +41 799639244 cboulierac@unicef.org


 

 

 

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