Malnourished Children Remains Yemen Major Problem

National Yemen

SANA’A/BRUSSELS, Almost 70,000 severely malnourished children in Yemen under the age of five will receive assistance over the next year with support from the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO).

Acute and chronic malnutrition remain a major problem in Yemen. By 2014 an estimated 1,060,000 children under five are expected to be acutely malnourished and approximately 280,000 severely acutely malnourished. These children are at high risk of death. Chronic malnutrition has been a long standing challenge in Yemen due to a combination of under development, conflict and political instability. The rate of stunted growth among children is 50% with critical implications for a child’s physical and cognitive development.

“The additional support announced today will make a vital difference in consolidating the gains made in tackling acute malnutrition over the last two years and further scale up our efforts in reaching every child” says UNICEF Acting Representative, Jeremy Hopkins.  “Keeping the momentum will require sustained funding and a multi-sectoral approach, including but not limited to access to safe water, hygiene promotion and girls education”, Hopkins emphasized.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MoPH&P), UNICEF, in partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP), is ensuring a coordinated response to address severe and moderate acute malnutrition, especially in areas of greatest need.

The funds released today will also support the training of health workers in community management of acute malnutrition (CMAM) and integrated management of childhood illnesses; as well as the rehabilitation and extension of water and sanitation facilities in 100 nutrition facilities in the targeted governorates. These interventions specifically target the governorates of Al Hodeida, Hajjah, Aden, Lahj and Taiz which have the highest levels of acute malnutrition in Yemen, above the global emergency threshold of fifteen per cent.

“To be able to reach all those at risk we call on other donors to join us in addressing this forgotten crisis and make a difference,” said Hervé Delphin, ECHO Head of Unit for European Neighbourhood, Middle East, Central and South-Western Asia.

Over the last two years, ECHO has contributed to reach some 350,000 severely malnourished children with immediate and life-saving interventions and established over 1600 outpatient therapeutic feeding centres, from a mere 300 in 2011.