SANAA/AMMAN, 24 January 2012 – UNICEF Regional Director Maria Calivis concludes today a two-day visit to Yemen where she saw first-hand the impact of malnutrition on children’s health.
“This year alone, half a million children in Yemen are likely to die from malnutrition or to suffer lifelong physical and cognitive consequences resulting from malnutritionif we don’t take action. Malnutrition is preventable. And, therefore, inaction is unconscionable,” Calivis said. “Conflict, poverty and drought, compounded by the unrest of the previous year, the high food and fuel prices, and the breakdown of social services, are putting children’s health at great risks and threatening their very survival.”
With 58 per cent of children stunted, Yemen has the second highest rate of chronic malnutrition among children in the world after Afghanistan. Acute malnutrition affects as many as 30 per cent of children in some parts of the country, nearing the levels observed in south Somalia, and twice as high as the internationally recognized emergency threshold.