More than 540,000 children under the age of 5 in Yemen are suffering life-threatening severe acute malnutrition and a child dies every 10 minutes from preventable causes, the UN said on Friday.
The UN children’s agency UNICEF warned that it could be forced to slash support for children in Yemen without a funding boost.
A total of 11 million children are in need of humanitarian assistance, UNICEF says.
It said it required $484 million to continue assistance this year, but the UN raised only $1.2 billion for all its agencies in Yemen at a pledging conference in Switzerland last month, well short of the $4.3 billion target.
“The funding gap UNICEF continued to face through 2022 and since the beginning of 2023 is putting the required humanitarian response for children in Yemen at risk,” the organization said said.
“If funding is not received, UNICEF might be forced to scale down its vital assistance for vulnerable children.”
The conflict in Yemen began in 2014 when the Iran-backed Houthi militia seized the capital, Sanaa, in a coup. An Arab coalition intervened the following year to support the legitimate government, and launched their first assaults against Houthi positions on March 26, 2015.
A truce expired last year, but fighting has remained largely on hold.
More than 11,000 children are known to have been killed or maimed since the conflict escalated in 2015.
Fighting in Yemen has triggered what the UN describes as one of the world’s worst humanitarian tragedies. Itsays more than 21.7 million people, two-thirds of Yemen’s population, will need humanitarian assistance this year.