06/26/2020, 09.20
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Yemen: 19 million children 'on the brink of starvation' because of war and Covid

UNICEF warns the health system is on the verge of collapse and the new coronavirus is likely to have devastating effects. Up to 30 thousand children will develop forms of severe malnutrition in the next six months. 461 million to guarantee an initial emergency response.

Sana'a (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Millions of children in Yemen, a nation ravaged by a bloody war, are being pushed "to the brink of starvation" due to the lack of funds and resources.

The UN agency for children is warning that the "worst humanitarian crisis in the world" is likely to become a disaster with the new coronavirus having "devastating" effects.

The nation’s health system has almost collapsed in the context of a conflict raging since 2015 following the Saudi-led Arab coalition intervention to support the internationally recognized government in its fight against the Houthi rebels, close to Iran.

The report, released today by Unicef, shows the further deterioration of an already precarious situation for children with the appearance of Covid-19 in the Arab country. Up to 30,000 children could develop severe malnutrition over the next six months, endangering their lives. At the same time, the number of malnourished children has grown to 2.4 million, an increase of around 20%.

UNICEF relaunches the data processed by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health which states another 6,000 minors under the age of five could die in one semester alone from easily preventable and treatable diseases.

"These are not overestimated figures," said Sara Beysolow Nyanti, UNICEF representative in Yemen, in a reality in which "the worst health crisis in the world is underway" and "a struggle for survival is taking place" against the new coronavirus.

The UN agency is launching an urgent appeal to raise the 461 million dollars needed to guarantee a first humanitarian response for the current year, with an additional fund of 53 million dedicated specifically to the fight against Covid-19.

Added to the new coronavirus are diseases that have been present for some time and that affect childhood development, stressing that five million children under the age of five risk not being vaccinated and another 19 million will lose access to health facilities and medical care.

“Children in Yemen - concludes Nyanti - need stability and lasting peace in their country. Until this happens, we must do everything to save lives."

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