'Too weak to cry:' Save the Children warns 5 million children at risk of famine in Yemen

British charity Save the Children has warned that 5 million children are at risk of famine in Yemen as the S...

Posted: Sep 19, 2018 1:18 PM
Updated: Sep 19, 2018 1:18 PM

British charity Save the Children has warned that 5 million children are at risk of famine in Yemen as the Saudi-led coalition carries out a major offensive on a strategic port in the country.

On Tuesday, the coalition launched a campaign to recapture the rebel Houthi-held port of Hodeidah, according to state media in the United Arab Emirates, a partner in the coalition.

Children

Continents and regions

Demographic groups

Families and children

Family members and relatives

Middle East

Middle East and North Africa

Non-profit and NGO organizations

Population and demographics

Save the Children Fund

Society

Yemen

Famine and food shortages

Societal issues

Yemen conflict

Diseases and disorders

Health and medical

Infectious diseases

Public health

World Health Organization

Bombings

Unrest, conflicts and war

Save the Children has said that damage to the port or its temporary closure would increase food and fuel costs, putting 1 million more children at risk of famine.

Save the Children International CEO Helle Thorning-Schmidt said the "nutrition crisis... has serious implications" for the country's young.

"Millions of children don't know when or if their next meal will come. In one hospital I visited in north Yemen, the babies were too weak to cry, their bodies exhausted by hunger. This could be any hospital in Yemen," Thorning-Schmidt said.

"What happens in Hodeidah has a direct impact on children and families right across Yemen. Even the smallest disruption to food, fuel and aid supplies through its vital port could mean death for hundreds of thousands of malnourished children unable to get the food they need to stay alive," she said.

'Vital lifeline'

The port is a "vital lifeline" for goods and aid for 80% of the country's population, the organization estimates.

"Even the smallest disruption to food, fuel and aid supplies through its vital port could mean death for hundreds of thousands of malnourished children unable to get the food they need to stay alive," said Tamer Kirolos, Save the Children's country director for Yemen.

"It could drive up the price of fuel -- and as a result transport -- to such an extent that families can't even afford to take their sick children to hospital."

Alongside the collapse of the country's currency, the Yemeni riyal, the price of food has doubled in the past few days, Save the Children asserts.

Even as food sits in markets, the prices have meant that increasing numbers of Yemenis are unable to feed their families, it says.

Fuels like gasoline and cooking gas have also increased by 25% in recent months, making it harder for people to travel and feed their families.

The United Nations has said an assault on the port city could, in the worst scenario, could kill up to 250,000 people. Around 70% of humanitarian aid passes through the Red Sea port.

The military offensive in the province started in June but fighting stalled, especially in Hodeidah, as the UN tried to bring warring parties to the negotiating table.

The latest attempt was in Geneva earlier this month but the Houthis didn't travel as all sides blamed each other for obstructing the peace talks.

'I could see her bones'

Save the Children provided testimony from Yemenis struggling to provide for their families.

A woman identified by the pseudonym Manal said that her infant daughter turned skeletal after she suffered from malnutrition.

"When Suha was six months she became sick," she told Save the Children, which also changed the name of her daughter.

"I could see her bones, I could not do anything for her. I had no money for transportation. I had to borrow some money to take Suha to the hospital far away from our village," she said. "Most of the time we eat two meals a day. In the morning we eat bread with tea and for lunch it's potatoes and tomatoes. Usually, I don't eat. I keep it for my children."

Epidemic looming

Famine is just one humanitarian crisis facing the country's beleaguered civilians. Last month, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the war-ravaged country is teetering on the brink of a third cholera epidemic.

Cases are increasing near the capital, Sanaa, and Hodeidah, where the recent conflict has hindered WHO's efforts to prevent the disease.

"We've had two major waves of cholera epidemics in recent years, and unfortunately the trend data that we've seen in the last days to weeks suggests that we may be on the cusp of the third major wave of cholera epidemics in Yemen," Peter Salama, WHO deputy director-general of emergency preparedness and response, told a UN briefing in Geneva, Switzerland.

More than 1.1 million suspected cholera cases have been recorded in Yemen since April 2017, according to the latest WHO figures, with more than 2,300 associated deaths.

Children killed in airstrikes

The Saudi-led coalition has also been accused of killing civilians, some of them children, including in a devastating attack on a school bus in August.

The bomb used in that attack was a 500-pound (227 kilogram) laser-guided MK 82 bomb made by Lockheed Martin, sold as part of a US State Department-sanctioned arms deal with Saudi Arabia, munitions experts told CNN.

On Tuesday CNN aired a report showing that an airstrike which hit a displaced Yemeni family's home killed two young siblings -- a three-month-old baby girl named Somood Hasan Shoay Al-Dahery and a three-year-old boy named Nabil Hasan Shoay Al-Dahery -- in Saada last week.

In a rare move, coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Malki said it would investigate the evidence presented to it by CNN.

He said the coalition takes "any allegations of incidents very seriously" and "targeting operations are carried out in conformity to the rules of engagement, which resemble the highest international standards."

He acknowledged that there is a "probability of collateral damage and civilian casualties" in the incident.

CNN made repeated requests for comment to US arms manufacturers Raytheon and Lockheed Martin and has not yet received a response from those companies.

West Lafayette
Overcast
45° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 38°
Kokomo
Overcast
43° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 36°
Rensselaer
Overcast
41° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 35°
Fowler
Overcast
41° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 35°
Williamsport
Overcast
44° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 39°
Crawfordsville
Overcast
42° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 35°
Frankfort
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 40°
Delphi
Overcast
45° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 38°
Monticello
Overcast
43° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 39°
Logansport
Overcast
43° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 39°
Dry and Cool for Remainder of Weekend.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 160454

Reported Deaths: 4118
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion25691791
Lake14023358
St. Joseph9399165
Elkhart9026137
Allen8424230
Hamilton6293114
Vanderburgh601161
Tippecanoe383615
Hendricks3337133
Porter332350
Monroe330338
Johnson3207129
Delaware303474
Clark300763
Vigo268740
Madison244996
LaPorte231760
Cass226922
Warrick199565
Kosciusko193727
Floyd183968
Howard167066
Bartholomew145358
Dubois142726
Marshall142726
Wayne135331
Grant129739
Henry129730
Boone126950
Hancock122344
Noble119135
Jackson116417
Dearborn100028
Morgan97440
Lawrence94037
Gibson91512
Daviess90234
Clinton88916
Shelby87231
LaGrange82115
Knox79510
Harrison78324
Putnam75616
Posey7556
DeKalb74511
Fayette73218
Jasper6435
Miami6425
Steuben6408
Montgomery60422
White59915
Greene55838
Scott53413
Decatur51739
Adams5107
Whitley4696
Ripley4668
Clay4567
Sullivan45214
Wells44211
Starke4328
Wabash4329
Huntington4215
Orange41725
Spencer4046
Washington3843
Franklin37925
Jennings37313
Randolph37210
Fulton3714
Jefferson3455
Pike34018
Perry33314
Carroll33213
Jay3256
Fountain3193
Tipton28023
Vermillion2601
Parke2464
Blackford2313
Newton23011
Rush2254
Owen2101
Martin2010
Crawford1601
Pulaski1602
Brown1463
Ohio1317
Union1120
Benton1090
Switzerland960
Warren891
Unassigned0236

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events