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October 21, 10

NEWS / UN sounds alarm over children malnutrition in conflict-hit parts of Yemen


21 October 2010 – Children in the conflict-affected province of Sa’ada in northern Yemen are suffering from high levels of malnutrition, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has reported, saying that in one area, three in four children were found to be malnourished.

A UNICEF-supported survey carried out by the Yemen’s public health and population ministry and released earlier this month showed that almost half of the 26,246 children aged between six and 59 months in five districts in western Sa’ada were suffering from acute malnutrition, the agency said in a press release yesterday.

In general, the survey showed that 17 per cent of the children screened suffered from severe acute malnutrition and 28 per cent from moderate acute malnutrition.

“Malnutrition is the main underlying cause of death for young children in Yemen, and therefore this grim situation could spell disaster for the children of Sa’ada,” said Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Representative in Yemen. “As winter approaches, thousands of children are at serious risk if we are not able to act immediately.”

Conflict had hampered access of humanitarian agencies to some of the areas where people most in need live, making delivery of basic relief supplies, including ready-to-use therapeutic food, difficult, UNICEF said.

The agency, however, added that food aid alone is not enough to solve the problem of malnutrition and called for efforts to support household food security for families, change of feeding practices and the provision of basic health and nutrition services, including therapeutic food, and ensuring that those affected by the conflict have access to clean water, proper sanitation and hygiene.

UNICEF urged parties to the conflict as well as the international community, including the Qatari mediation delegation currently visiting Yemen, to ensure immediate access for aid workers to the whole of Sa’ada governorate so that children are given life-saving assistance.

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=36522&Cr=yemen&Cr1=

 




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