Save the Children has called for an immediate ceasefire to pull back the country from the brink of famine as civilians report soaring food prices amid renewed fighting
By Bel Trew
As many as 85,000 children have starved to death in Yemen, according to Save the Children with the charity warning that up to 14 million people are at risk of famine if a ruinous war does not end soon.
Since 2015, when the fighting first broke out the group has estimated that at least 84,700 children under the age of five may have died from malnutrition. That is the equivalent of every child in Birmingham, Britain’s second biggest city, the group added.
The devastating statistic came as fighting flared in the Red Sea city of Hodeidah, the frontline of the latest battle, where food prices had soared by at least 400 per cent, according to local residents.
Only two hospitals are now working in the port town, both of which are dangerously close to the front line.
“For every child killed by bombs and bullets, dozens are starving to death and it’s entirely preventable,” said Tamer Kirolos, Save the Children’s Yemen director.
“Because of the fighting parents are delaying taking their children in for treatment of malnutrition, when their internal organs are not working, and they have multiple infections due to the wasting,” he added.
Mr Kirolos said at that point medics can do nothing to save them.
The charity warned that the number of cases has dramatically increased since a Saudi Arabia led coalition imposed a month-long blockade on the impoverished country a year ago.
The Gulf alliance launched a bombing campaign in the Spring of 2015 to oust the Iran-backed Houthi rebels that swept control of the country forcing Yemen’s recognised President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to flee.
The fighting has sparked the worst humanitarian crisis in the world and pushed the country to the brink of famine.
Over two-thirds of the population now rely on aid to survive. According to the United Nations, 400,000 children are on the cusp of dying from hunger, 15,000 more than last year.