UNICEF puts the number of Yemeni children who have been victims of a war that has been raging for more than eight years at 11,000

Yemen's war leaves more than 11,000 children dead or injured

REUTERS/KHALED ABDULLAH - Children attend a gathering held by women loyal to the Houthi movement to show their support in Sana'a, Yemen

More than 11,000 children have been killed or injured since Yemen's civil war began in September 2014, according to UNICEF. The average is four victims a day, although the United Nations child protection organisation warns that the figure may be much higher due to the difficulty in gathering information.  

So far this year alone, at least 330 children have died as a direct or indirect result of attacks, according to Save the Children data. A study published by the international children's rights NGO ranked Yemen as the worst country at war to be a child.

Niño soldado Yemen

The conflict between Yemeni insurgents, backed by Iran, and coalition forces led by Saudi Arabia, which erupted as part of the Arab Spring following the coup against the government of Abd al-Rahman Rabbuh al-Mansur al-Hadi, has left more than 150,000 people dead and three million displaced.  

The war has dragged Yemen into the world's largest humanitarian crisis and has destroyed the future of generations of Yemenis. Twenty-three of the country's 30 million people, more than three-quarters of the population, need humanitarian assistance. More than half are children, two million of whom are acutely malnourished.

Niña Yemen hospital

Following her trip to Yemen, UNICEF Director Catherine Russell called on the warring parties to renew the truce they agreed to last April during the holy month of Ramadan, which was extended twice. The ceasefire significantly reduced hostilities but expired in early October without agreement between the Houthi leadership and the internationally recognised government based in Aden.  

"An urgent renewal of the truce would be a positive first step that would allow critical humanitarian access. Ultimately, only sustained peace will allow families to rebuild their shattered lives and begin planning," said Russell, who served as assistant to US President Joe Biden and director of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel before taking office in February.

Yemen desnutrición infantil

Following the full-scale resumption of the war, UNICEF says at least 62 children have been killed or injured. This is in addition to the 74 children who fell victim to landmines and unexploded ordnance between July and September this year, according to the UN. 

Yet death is not the only threat to a child in Yemen. There are other serious human rights violations that have become commonplace over the past eight years of conflict, such as recruitment, abduction or killing, sexual violence, denial of humanitarian access and mutilation, as well as the possibility of lifelong injury or psychological trauma.

Niño soldado Yemen

Hygiene and food shortages, the latter exacerbated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, are the norm. In fact, nearly 18 million Yemenis do not even have access to clean water, leaving them vulnerable to serious diseases such as cholera, measles and diphtheria for which the fragile health system can do little.  

During his trip, Mr. Russell launched UNICEF's Humanitarian Action for Children appeal, a $10.3 billion aid package aimed at "providing water, sanitation, nutrition, education, health and protection services to children around the world affected by conflict and disaster.

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