Yemen conflict enters 10th year with over 17 million people in need of health aid

Malnutrition in Yemen

The country faces an alarmingly high malnutrition rate, with nearly 2.4 million children aged under 5 years suffering from stunting.

25 March 2024, Cairo, Egypt – The conflict in Yemen enters its 10th year today, with over half of the country’s population in desperate need of aid and an estimated 17.8 million people requiring health assistance, 50% of them children.

“It’s almost as if ongoing conflicts have become an accepted part of the everyday realities of life in the region. It’s important to step back and remember that hungry children, disease outbreaks, hospitals shutting down … these are not to be normalized,” said Dr Hanan Balkhy, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean.

“The conflict has destroyed everything … many health facilities have shut down, epidemics have spread, the diseases that felt like a part of the past have returned, such as polio and cholera,” said Dr Eman Tajeldeen, who works at the Central Laboratory in Aden. “We love Yemen, and we would love to see Yemen back.”

Children are particularly vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases such as polio, measles, pertussis and diphtheria, while also suffering from alarmingly high malnutrition rates. Nearly half of all children under five, nearly 2.4 million children, suffer from moderate to severe stunting.

“After 9 years of conflict, deteriorating health outcomes and destroyed infrastructure, emergency health and humanitarian needs control the lives of millions of Yemenis and limit their ability to achieve inclusive sustainable development,” said Dr Arturo Pesigan, WHO Representative

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