In Brief

Yemen crisis: 85,000 children under five ‘dead from starvation’

Victims of acute malnutrition ‘suffer immensely’ as vital organs shut down, warns Save the Children

An estimated 85,000 children under the age of five have starved to death since the outbreak of the Yemen civil war in 2015, according to Save the Children.

The charity says the “conservative” estimate is based on average mortality rates for untreated cases of severe acute malnutrition in young children, using data compiled by the United Nations (UN). A total of up to 14 million people are feared to be at risk of famine as a result of the war

“For every child killed by bombs and bullets, dozens are starving to death and it’s entirely preventable,” said Tamer Kirolos, Save the Children’s country director in Yemen. “Children who die in this way suffer immensely as their vital organ functions slow down and eventually stop.”

According to the UN, an additional 400,000 acutely malnourished children are fighting for their lives as the crisis continues to escalate.

In addition to those who have starved to death, 6,639 children have been killed or injured in the conflict, more than two thousand have been recruited into fighting, and more than two million are out of school.

Earlier hopes of a ceasefire were wiped out when the Saudi-led coalition launched an assault on the port city of Hodeidah this summer, cutting off supplies of food and medicine.

Fighting, blockades and bureaucracy have forced Save the Children to divert its aid through the southern Yemen port of Aden, which delays deliveries by up to three weeks.

On Monday, the UK’s Ambassador to the UN, Karen Pierce, circulated a UN draft resolution to members of the Security Council that outlined a peace plan for Yemen.

CBS News reports that the resolution “calls on the parties to introduce a cessation of hostilities in Hodeidah governorate, to cease all attacks on densely populated civilian areas across Yemen and to cease all missile and UAV attacks against regional countries”.

UN special envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, warned last week that the country “remains the largest humanitarian disaster in the world”.

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