Yemen: Children face food shortages and lack of education

14 October, 2011
Child IDPs in al-Jawf pay the price for lack of access for aid workers to reach them with food aid. Credit: IRIN/Adel Yahya
Child IDPs in al-Jawf pay the price for lack of access for aid workers to reach them with food aid. Credit: IRIN/Adel Yahya

The growing humanitarian crisis in Yemen has alarming consequences for the education and wellbeing of tens of thousands of children, a new OCHA Situation Report on the emergency highlighted today.

“Throughout Yemen, children’s access is challenged by the occupation of schools by internally displaced people, the use of school premises by armed groups, a lack of proper facilities and unsafe access conditions,” the report warned.

An estimated 80 schools within conflict zones are inaccessible, of which 36 are occupied by armed groups - denying 120,000 children of their right to education. In Aden, in the south of the country, 76 of 135 schools have been occupied by displaced families from Abiyan, preventing 85,000 children from going to class.

Children are also particularly hard-hit by a lack of affordable food. A recent survey in Hajjah governorate found that global acute malnutrition in children under the age of 5 exceeded 31 per cent, and that severe acute malnutrition was at 9 per cent – well above the emergency threshold.

“For far too long, the international community has failed to give enough attention to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen,” warned Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos, in a recent statement.  “If we don’t act now, the situation could become a catastrophe.”

“The children of Yemen should be busy going back to school at this time of year. Instead, they face armed men rather than teachers, bullets instead of books,” said Anthony Lake, Executive Director of Unicef, the children’s agency.

“Of 3.6 million children under five years of age in Yemen, at least 43 per cent are underweight and 58 per cent are stunted.”

More>> OCHA Situation Report #9

Keyword search