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Hunger spreading in Yemen
Published in Bikya Masr on 05 - 12 - 2011

SANA'A: For the past 11 months Yemen has been enthralled in a multi-facet crisis where a popular uprising, armed conflicts and a humanitarian catastrophe have worked at disrupting the social make-up of the country as well as its institutions.
In yet another alarming statement on Yemen, UNICEF is now saying that Yemeni children are literally “wasting away”, stressing that lives were at risk.
Already the poorest country of the Arabic Peninsula despite its many resources, Yemen is now paying the price for a prolonged political crisis and overlapping armed conflicts between various armed groups and militias.
Thousands of families have been forced to flee the war zones with nothing but the clothes on their back.
With little to no outside help, Yemenis are left to bare harsh living conditions, with no electricity, running water, shelter or adequate amounts of food to sustain them.
In its nutrition study in Abyan, a southern province of Yemen enthralled in a conflict with al-Qaeda militants, the UNICEF reported that there was now shocking Global Acute Malnutrition rate among 18.6 percent of the children. The emergency threshold number is considered 15 percent.
The agency warned that when children were severely undernourished their growth would be stunted both in body and in mind, leading to an array of ailments in later life.
In the northern province of Sa'ada, where sectarianism is threatening to engulf the region onto another war, UNICEF's findings were not encouraging.
“In Sa'ada, high malnutrition rates continue to be identified and children referred for treatment. Out of a total of 234 children screened, 47 were referred to a therapeutic feeding center, while 128 were enrolled in outpatient therapeutic care (75 percent admission rate for severe acute malnutrition),” said the agency.
In Sana'a, the capital, about 67.5 percent of the people are going to bed hungry.
UNICEF called on foreign donors to honor their promises of donation as the agency like the World food Program is entirely relying on voluntary funding to run its operations.
Supplies of the miracle food plumpy'nut, which can stave off malnutrition, are not available to all children. Funding for UNICEF and WFP would need to be increased. Without this supply, another generation of children will be burdened with long-term physical and mental impairment.
Tags: Food, Hunger, Malnourished, UNICEF
Section: Health, Latest News, Yemen

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