Overview

UNICEF in Yemen

 

UNICEF in Yemen

UNICEF/UNI191331/Matas
© UNICEF/UNI191331/Matas

In the 1970s UNICEF established presence in Yemen in order to respond to the urgent needs of children in the poorest country in the Middle East. In 1991, Yemen ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child and it was enacted immediately.

Since then the country has been making steady progress for children until it plunged into a brutal conflict in 2015 but even before that, Yemen needed large amounts of humanitarian assistance.

The conflict spreads

On 26 March 2015, the conflict in Yemen the conflict in Yemen escalated into a brutal war as aerial bombardment and street fighting gripped most of the country putting millions of the country’s civilian population, especially children at peril.

And there is no end in sight to the deadly conflict. This means that close to 10 million children will continue to face more days of fear, pain and deprivation.

Bearing the brunt of war

Children do not start wars yet they are the most vulnerable to their deadly effects. In Yemen, children have been hurt in the most extreme and cruel ways and child recruitment and abduction also increased tremendously. Attacks on school and hospitals, as well as incidents where children were denied humanitarian access, are some of the worrying trends that have characterized this conflict.

Crumbling services

The collapse of basic services in Yemen continues to accelerate. Schools, health facilities, and water and sanitation systems have been destroyed, evacuated or forced to close down because of the lack of fuel, supplies and funds.

Already the region’s poorest country

Even before the conflict intensified last year, Yemen needed large amounts of humanitarian assistance, with 15.9 million people—61 per cent of the total population—in need in late 2014 . These needs stemmed from years of widespread poverty, under-development, environmental decline, intermittent conflict and weak rule of law.

Children and women were already living in dire conditions before the war. Child and maternal mortality rates were well below the average for the Middle East and North Africa, and stunting levels more than double that of the region. The decline in social services was well established when the crisis escalated in March 2015, and has continued to free fall ever since.

A forgotten crisis

With global media and donor attention flitting from one crisis hotspot to another, Yemen risks becoming a forgotten crisis. But its needs are enormous—well above that of similar crises such as Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan. The sheer number of people in need is more than double that of Iraq, nearly triple of Afghanistan and almost double of Syria. Almost all of Yemen’s population has been affected by the crisis, which has spread to 20 of the 22 governorates.

 

 

 

 

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2019 Humanitarian Action for Children: Yemen

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