In Yemen, millions of children could soon be without food or water as economic crisis deepens and Hudaydah violence drags on
Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore
NEW YORK, 18 October 2018 – “Millions of desperate children and families across Yemen could soon be without food, clean water or sanitation services because of the deepening economic crisis and unrelenting violence in the port city of Hudaydah. The confluence of these two factors is likely to make the horrific reality facing children and families even worse as more and more war-weary people face the very real prospect of death and disease.
“The cost of food, fuel and water supplies has skyrocketed as the value of the national currency has plummeted.
“Water and sewage treatment services are at risk of collapse because of soaring fuel prices – meaning many of these same children and families may also be without access to safe water and sanitation. This in turn could lead to disease outbreaks and increased malnutrition – both of which, in combination with food insecurity, raise the risk of famine. An estimated 1.2 million more people will soon be in acute need of basic water and sanitation assistance, and the number is expected to climb in the coming days.
Families who can no longer afford basic food items could soon join the 18.5 million people who are already food insecure – a number projected to rise by 3.5 million, including nearly 1.8 million children.
“These conditions, devastating in their own right, are compounded by the situation in Hudaydah where violence threatens to kill children and choke off an essential supply chain of fuel and humanitarian aid that sustains 28 million Yemenis.
“If the port is attacked, damaged or blocked, an estimated 4 million more children will become food insecure throughout the country.
“The only way out of Yemen’s nightmare is to establish peace through a comprehensive political resolution. Until then, UNICEF continues its call on parties to the conflict and those who have influence over them to abide by their legal obligations to stop attacks against civilian infrastructure – including the port of Hudaydah – and guarantee safe, unconditional and sustained access to all children in need in Yemen.”
United Nations Children’s Fund
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