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Child hunger hits record highs in Yemen

Cases of acute malnutrition have increased 10 percent among children under the age of five in southern Yemen and unprecedented rates of hunger have been detected in some districts, several UN agencies warned on Tuesday, putting figures at what is considered the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

About 80 percent of Yemen’s population, more than 24 million people, need humanitarian assistance, the result of a combination of factors that have the war as a backdrop and that paints a worrying scenario throughout the country.

The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), produced by agencies such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Program (WFP), has analyzed the situation in 133 southern districts and has concluded that in these areas, where 1.4 million children under the age of five live, cases of acute malnutrition have increased by 10 percent. hundred and already exceed half a million.

The largest increase is registered among young children suffering from severe acute malnutrition, specifically 15.5 percent, which means that at least 98,000 children are in danger of dying of hunger if they do not receive urgent care.

In the worst affected areas – Abyan Lowlands (23 percent), Lahej Lowlands (21 percent), Taíz Lowlands (22 percent) – agencies estimate that around one in five children suffers from acute malnutrition. In the Hodeida lowlands, the figure is even higher, reaching 27 percent.

The UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, Lise Grande, has reiterated that the agencies have already been warning since July that the country “is on the brink of a catastrophic food security crisis.” “If the war does not end now, we are approaching an irreversible situation and we run the risk of losing a whole generation of Yemeni children,” he claimed.

The representative of UNICEF, Philippe Duamelle, has agreed that “the lives of millions of children and women are at risk”, while the director of the WFP in Yemen, Laurent Bukera, has warned that “the vicious circle of conflict and Hunger in Yemen is wreaking terrible havoc on those who were already the most vulnerable. “

They all agree that “urgent” measures and support are necessary. “It is heartbreaking to see that when people need us the most, we cannot do what is necessary for them because we do not have funds,” lamented the United Nations humanitarian coordinator.

The UN and its allies need more than 50 million dollars (42.3 million euros) to increase nutrition programs and, at a general level, they recalled that until mid-October they had only received 1.43 billion dollars (1.21 billion euros). euros) of the 3,200 million (2,710 million euros) that are needed for all of 2020.

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