UNICEF Middle East Regional Director and Australian humanitarian Peter Salama has ended a three-day visit to Yemen where he witnessed the impact of the country’s brutal conflict on children.
The visit followed UNICEF’s confirmation of 365 children killed since the conflict escalated in late March. An additional 484 children have been injured according to monitoring carried out by UNICEF and its partners in Yemen.
“These figures underline the extent to which Yemeni children continue to be the innocent victims of this appalling violence,” Dr Salama said ahead of a deadline set by the coalition for a five-day truce to allow humanitarian aid to be to Yemen.
"This is totally unacceptable and with no end in sight to the conflict, the safety and welfare of children should be put above and beyond all military and political considerations."
Dr Salama said aside from the direct impact of the conflict on children, millions faced increased risk of an outbreak of measles, malaria, diarrhoea and pneumonia and more than one million children were now at risk of acute malnutrition.
“As tragic as the deaths and injuries among children are the indirect impact of the violence may result in far more deaths among children in the long term and could affect an entire generation,” Dr Salama said.
"The conflict has compounded the misery of children living in the poorest country in the region."
UNICEF is calling for:
1. All parties to the conflict to abide by international humanitarian law and avoid targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure including schools and water and health facilities;
2. All parties to the conflict to provide humanitarian agencies with guaranteed safe access to reach children wherever they are in the country;
3. All partners to work with UNICEF to expand programs for the women and children of Yemen;
4. International donors to rapidly step up their support for humanitarian programs in Yemen at this critical time.
UNICEF will expand its Yemen programs to: combat risks to maternal and child survival; to address poor nutrition among children; to improve water, sanitation and hygiene; and to deliver education and child protection.
UNICEF has more than 130 staff in Yemen and has remained in the country throughout the conflict. Despite dangerous and difficult conditions, UNICEF works for children across all parts of Yemen.
Protect children from conflict
In Yemen and wherever children are caught in the middle of conflict, UNICEF works to uphold their fundamental rights to protection, health care and education.
You can help us continue this critical work for kids, wherever the need is greatest.DONATE NOW
Stay up-to-date on UNICEF's work in Australia and around the world
22 Jan 2023
Cambodia Cycle: Do you have what it takes?
Experience first-hand UNICEF's work in Cambodia from the seat of your bicycle
18 Jan 2023
Classrooms around the world in pictures
Education is the key to the future we want to see for every child. And it all starts here, in the classroom.
19 Dec 2022
Hope after heartbreak
The situation has gotten so bad in Somalia that the United Nations and UNICEF fear that famine is imminent in some regions of the country.
13 Dec 2022
Rebuilding children’s lives and futures in Pakistan
In August this year the world held its breath when one third of Pakistan was devastated by flood.
20 Nov 2022
Swimmer, Emma McKeon shares the importance of sport for children
It is with great pleasure that we announce Emma McKeon, 11-time Olympic gold medal holder, as the latest UNICEF Australia Ambassador.
16 Nov 2022
The flooding continues to devastate - with children the most vulnerable
We continue to see the devastating destruction and emotional impact on children and families due to climate change-driven extreme weather events – with predictions these will become more frequent and intense over time.
18 Oct 2022
We're all feeling the rise in the cost of living
Globally, the cost of living is on the rise. The war in Ukraine and climate change is exacerbating the increasing global food and fuel prices.
13 Oct 2022
Four things you need to know about the looming famine in the Horn of Africa
“An escalating malnutrition crisis is pushing millions of children to the brink of starvation – and unless we do more, that crisis will become a catastrophe.” – Catherine Russell, UNICEF Executive Director
27 Sept 2022
“I refused to give up.”
Meet Joanna, a passionate Child Protection officer, advocating for child-focused systems in Timor-Leste.
20 Sept 2022
Leading the way in Tennant Creek
These Aboriginal educators are inspiring the next generation of First Nations children
7 Sept 2022
Redefining how we support new mothers in Laos
A little cash goes a long way to save lives.