The years-long conflict coupled with the Saudi-led economic blockade has fuelled famine and disease, affecting children the most.

Affiliated with the Houthi rebels, Yemen's Ansar Allah movement made a disturbing claim on Thursday, saying the ongoing war in the country has resulted in the annual death rate of 50,000 children, many of whom are under a month old.  

Infant mortality has increased to extremely alarming proportions due to famine, a lack of medical care and widespread poverty. 

The reports about child deaths have been surfacing ever since the war in Yemen broke out in 2015, but the issue barely drew any international response. 

In a November 2018 speech, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Geert Cappelaere said: “30,000 children under the age of 5 are dying every single year from diseases that have malnutrition as their cause.”

In an interview with TRT Arabi, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Health in Sanaa, Saif al Hadri, described the situation of Yemen's children as "disastrous in the shadow of war", pointing out that "approximately five and a half million children under the age of five are suffering from malnutrition". 

Al Hadri revealed that "one child dies every ten minutes in Yemen" and noted: "80 percent of children in Yemen live in a state of stunting and anaemia due to malnutrition." 

He added: “Two hundred thousand women of childbearing age or some of them are pregnant or have given birth to malnourished children, which threatens the lives of children."

The support from the international community is not enough, according to al Hadri, as none of the leading global powers has taken any serious initiative to force the Saudi-led Gulf states to lift the soul-shattering economic siege and work towards bringing the war to its end.

Child mortality in Yemen spikes in the winter season, especially in cold, mountainous areas. 

Malnourishment, malaria, diphtheria and local flues are proving fatal for tens of thousands of children living in urban areas. 

According to UNICEF: “Yemen is the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, with more than 24 million people – some 80 percent of the population – in need of humanitarian assistance, including more than 12 million children.”

Since the conflict escalated in March 2015,  around two million children under five years old are suffering from acute malnutrition and require treatment.

The Saudi-led coalition has prevented half a million Yemenis from fishing on the coasts of Yemen next to the Red Sea, a distance of 2, 500 kilometres along with the nine provinces out of 22 Yemeni governorates, which damaged the only source of income to benefit from it. 

In an interview with TRT Arabi, Hassan Said, a fisherman from the coastal city of Al Hudaydah, who fled to Abyan governorate in southern Yemen, said: "I support seven children, and my only source of income is to work in fishing, but the coalition bombed dozens of coasts in Hodeidah and killed hundreds of fishermen.

"I escaped with my undernourished children to Abyan, where we receive a little support from the organisations from time to time."

Source: TRT World