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Yemen Compounding Disasters

Every 10 minutes a child in Yemen dies of malnutrition

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Yemen currently has the greatest level of humanitarian needs in the world, but has received almost no international attention from media, or politicians.

The two and half year conflict in Yemen has been overshadowed by wars in Syria and Iraq prompting aid workers to refer to the crisis as the "forgotten war."

"It's probably one of the biggest crises in the world but it's like a silent crisis, a silent situation and a forgotten war," UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick told CNN.

Nearly 80 percent of the country's total population needs humanitarian aid.

An estimated 21.2 million people, half of which are children, are in need of some kind of humanitarian assistance including food, water, shelter, fuel and sanitation.

But as of October 2017, the UN's appeal for $2.1 billion to assist the crisis in Yemen was only 7 percent funded.

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"The scale of suffering as a result of the ongoing conflict in Yemen is shocking."

McGoldrick, expressed disappointment and frustration with the lack of international attention. "The world has turned a blind eye to what's happening in Yemen... right now we are so under-resourced for this crisis, it's extraordinary."

"The scale of suffering as a result of the ongoing conflict in Yemen is shocking." said UNICEF Yemen Representative Meritxell Relano.

A Yemeni child dies due to lack of food every 10 minutes.

Since January of 2017, at least 50,000 Yemeni children died of starvation and disease.

400,000 children are currently on the brink malnutrition and more than eight million people are on the verge of famine.

"The scale of suffering as a result of the ongoing conflict in Yemen is shocking." said UNICEF Yemen Representative Meritxell Relano.

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The United States’ role in the crisis in Yemen.

In March of 2015 Saudi Arabia launched a military intervention in Yemen after rebels overthrew the Saudi and US backed government.
Since then the U.S and United Kingdom have been providing the Saudi military with significant financial, logistical, and weapons support.

Along with deadly airstrikes targeting schools, hospitals and other civilian areas, Saudi Arabia has created blockades to prevent aid from reaching people desperately need.

Saudi Arabia tightened a blockade on the country on November 6, but restrictions were slightly eased on November 26, in response to pressure from the United Nations but aid agencies say many key ports remain closed.

UNICEF officials say that unless all the ports are opened, it will be impossible for them to deliver even a fraction of the aid needed.

UN official Mark Lowcock warned, if the blockade isn't reversed Yemen will experience, "the largest famine the world has seen for many decades with millions of victims."

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A devastating cholera epidemic has ravaged almost a million people in Yemen.

Cholera, which can lead to fatal dehydration without treatment, is rapidly spreading in Yemen.

Almost one million Yemenis have been infected this year. Over 2,200 have died and 27 percent of the cholera victims are under the age of five, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

They estimate juvenile cholera cases will reach 600,000 by the end of the year.

Unsanitary conditions and a lack of clean water, along with the hindrance of the transportation of vital medicine and vaccines, is worsening an already devastating epidemic.

A representative from Yemen for Doctors Without Borders said before the war, Yemen could have easily contained the outbreak.

Doctors Without Borders treat cholera patients in Yemen
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On December 12 Doctors Without Borders reported a suspected outbreak of diphtheria in Yemen.

There have been 318 suspected cases of diphtheria and 28 deaths have been reported from mid-August to early December. Half of the suspected cases are children between the ages of 5 and 14, and nearly 95 percent of the deaths are children under 15.

What is diphtheria?

"Globally, diphtheria has been eradicated from most countries after systematic childhood vaccination campaigns, and it's become something of a neglected and forgotten disease," said Marc Poncin, MSF emergency coordinator.

"There has been a concrete loss of knowledge regarding its treatment, and this is making it much more difficult for health workers to quickly and correctly identify, isolate, and treat cases," Poncin said.

MORE FROM CIRCA:
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Aid agencies say Yemen is the world's largest humanitarian crisis

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