Feature: Yemeni children suffers malnutrition for lack of humanitarian aid amid war, blockade

Source: Xinhua| 2020-11-18 23:16:14|Editor: huaxia

SANAA, Nov. 18 (Xinhua) -- "The war and blockade have doubled the suffering of people in Yemen. Everyone in Yemen, including the medical staff, is affected," said Hammoud Al-Nusiri, a pediatrician at the Al-Sabeen Hospital in Sanaa, Yemen's capital.

Working at the malnutrition ward of the hospital, Al-Nusiri treats children suffering acute malnutrition. This is one of the last few public wards specializing in the malnutrition treatment in Yemen as the country's entire system of health service is on the brink of collapse.

"There's a lack of medicines and other medical supplies. We also face a shortage of diesel which provides energy for all hospital equipment," said the doctor.

The malnutrition rate among Yemeni children has soared to the highest level ever recorded.

The United Nations estimated that 7.4 million people in Yemen need nutrition assistance, and 2 million of them are children under the age of five. In parts of Yemen, as many as 20 percent of the children under five are acutely malnourished.

The malnutrition ward in Al-Sabeen Hospital receives hundreds of malnourished children every month. Most of them come from remote villages where health services have been completely paralysed.

Amr Sadiq brought his three-year-old son here for surgery. They live in Ibb Province, 160 km south of Sanaa, where finding proper treatment for the child was impossible.

But the lack of medicines is dimming the hope for his son as the humanitarian aid for Yemen is quickly draining off.

According to the United Nations, 15 of its 41 major programs in Yemen have been reduced or shut down for lack of funds and the humanitarian response plan for Yemen is only 38 percent funded.

With nearly half of the health facilities in Yemen closed down, the other half are now barely functional as their operation almost completely relies on international aid.

Al-Nurisri said many of the medical staff in his hospital are severely underpaid or not paid at all.

"We are on a countdown right now to a catastrophe in Yemen," David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Program, warned last week.

The protracted war in Yemen began in late 2014 when the Houthi rebels seized control of much of the country's north and forced the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee abroad. The Saudi-led military coalition intervened in March 2015 to support Hadi's government. Enditem