"Wars, deep economic crises and decades of underdevelopment have not spared a single girl or boy in Yemen. The suffering of children is all man-made."

UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Geert Cappelaere, has just returned from a week in Yemen. This is what he saw:

“The living conditions of millions of children in Yemen are a disgrace.

There is no excuse for these dark realities in the 21st century.
A young boy runs with a tyre as he plays alongside buildings damaged by fighting in Saada's old city, Saada Governorate, Yemen. © UNICEF/UN073958/Clarke for UNOCHA

The toll of almost four years of the recent fighting across Yemen is mind boggling, with more than 2,700 children recruited to fight an adults’ war. 

Nearly 1.5 million children have been displaced, many of them living a life that is a mere shadow of what childhood should be.
​In Yemen today, 7 million children
go to sleep hungry every night.

Every single day, 400,000 children face life threatening severe acute malnutrition, and could die any minute.
A doctor measures the arm of nine-month-old Yemeni baby Yahya. He is being treated for malnutrition at a hospital near Sanaa.  
© UNICEF/UN0253358 & UN0253363 Huwais
A girl is treated for malnutrition at the Al Thawra Hospital in Hudaydah. © UNICEF/UN0253573/Abdulhaleem

Behind the numbers, there are children with names, faces, families, friends, stories, shattered dreams and lives cut short.

Zakaria, a 12-year old boy that I met at a rehabilitation centre, was herding his goats when he stepped on a landmine and was maimed for life.

He was wondering if he would ever see his favourite goat again.
Alia who is nine, was sleeping when
her house came under attack.  She
woke up in in hospital without her legs. 

Alia is dreaming of becoming a doctor.
Azmi, 12, is displaced from Taiz. He wants to go back home, in order to go to school and meet his friends again. © UNICEF/UN0188088/Fuad

Do these numbers - and the stories behind them - actually matter? 
They should have shocked the world into action long ago.

The current war and the economic crisis are making an already dire situation much, much worse. The interests of Yemeni children have hardly been taken into account in any decision-making for decades.

Today, almost every single child in Yemen depends on humanitarian assistance to survive. Support from UNICEF and other humanitarian partners is literally saving lives and giving children a glimmer of hope.”

UNICEF is expanding its response in Yemen, including the delivery of therapeutic support to malnourished children, increasing the number of treatment centres and training community health workers to identify early stages of malnutrition and refer children to the treatment they urgently need. 

On 30 June 2018 in Yemen, workers offload UNICEF-supported emergency humanitarian supplies which are being distributed in Hudaydah. © UNICEF/UN0219926/

Help Children in Yemen

Yemen is experiencing the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. Today, more than 11 million children - nearly half the entire population of Australia - are in dire need of food, medical treatment, education, water and sanitation.

UNICEF is one of the few international aid agencies working in Yemen to get these millions of children and their families the humanitarian support they so urgently require. Every day our teams on the ground are delivering the essentials like medicine, food, clean water to thousands of Yemeni children.

But we still have so much more to do, and we need your help.