The humanitarian crisis continues to exert a terrible toll on children, warn FAO, UNICEF, WFP and WHO
Nearly 2.3 million children under the age of five in Yemen are projected to suffer from acute malnutrition in 2021, four United Nations agencies warned recently. Of these, 400,000 are expected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition and could die if they do not receive urgent treatment.
The new figures, from the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Acute Malnutrition report released by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Fund), the World Food Programme (WFP), the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners, mark an increase in acute malnutrition and severe acute malnutrition of 16 per cent and 22 per cent, respectively, among children under five years from 2020.
The agencies also warned that these were among the highest levels of severe acute malnutrition recorded in Yemen since the escalation of conflict in 2015.
Malnutrition damages a child’s physical and cognitive development, especially during the first two years of a child’s life. It is largely irreversible, perpetuating illness, poverty and inequality.
Preventing malnutrition and addressing its devastating impact starts with good maternal health, yet around 1.2 million pregnant or breastfeeding women in Yemen are projected to be acutely malnourished in 2021.
Acute malnutrition among young children and mothers in Yemen has increased with each year of conflict with a significant deterioration during 2020 driven by high rates of disease, such as diarrhea, respiratory tract infections, and cholera, and rising rates of food insecurity.