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Yemeni Children Suffer From Life-Threatening Malnutrition

The year-long conflict in Yemen leaves many children in hunger, causing severe malnutrition and even deaths.

Smoke rises after an airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition at a weapons depot in Sanaa, Yemen on Sept. 11, 2015.

Yemen, an impoverished nation of 26 million, imports 90 percent of its food. It already had one of the highest malnutrition rates in the world, but in the past year the statistics have leaped.

Hani Mohammed / AP, file

Faisal Ahmed holds one of his child at his house in Hazyaz village, on the southern outskirts of Sanaa, on March 28, 2016.

The spread of hunger has been the most horrific consequence of Yemen's war since Shiite rebels seized the capital and Saudi Arabia and its allies, backed by the United States, responded with a campaign of airstrikes and a naval blockade a year ago.

Hani Mohammed / AP

Infant Udai Faisal, who is suffering from acute malnutrition, is hospitalized at Al-Sabeen Hospital in Sanaa on March 22, 2016. Udai died on two days later.

UNICEF estimates that the rates of severe acute malnutrition among children in Yemen — the worst cases where the body starts to waste away — have doubled from around 160,000 a year ago to 320,000 now.

Maad al-Zikry / AP, file

Udai Faisal is fed by his mother Intissar Hezzam at Al-Sabeen Hospital in Sanaa on March 22, 2016.

The day Udai was born, warplanes from the Saudi-led coalition were striking an army base used by Houthi rebels in Hazyaz, a shantytown on the southern edge of Sana'a, Yemen's capital. Shrapnel hit their one-bedroom house where Udai's mother was in labor.

Maad al-Zikry / AP

Udai's father Faisal Ahmed pours water on his grave in Hazyaz village on the southern outskirts of Sanaa on March 28, 2016.

"He didn't cry and there were no tears, just stiff," Udai's mother said of his death.

Hani Mohammed / AP

Faisal Ahmed, Udai's father, sits with his remaining children at his house in Hazyaz village on the southern outskirts of Sanaa on March 28, 2016.

Faisal Ahmed's family lives off the pension he gets as a former soldier, about $200 a month. He used to sometimes work in construction, but those jobs disappeared in the war.

Hani Mohammed / AP

A malnourished child lies in a bed waiting to receive treatment at a feeding center in a hospital in Sanaa on Jan. 24, 2016.

Hani Mohammed / AP

A nurse takes care of a malnourished boy at Al-Sabeen hospital in Sanaa on March 17, 2016.

More than 900 children have been killed and more than 1,300 wounded, 61 percent of them in airstrikes, according to UNICEF.

Hani Mohammed / AP

Ten-month-old Amal Hamid, suffering from chronic malnutrition, is held by her mother at Al-Sabeen hospital in Sanaa on March 17, 2016.

Hani Mohammed / AP

A nurse takes care of six-month-old Afnan Ahmed, who is suffering from chronic malnutrition, in the intensive care unit of Al-Sabeen hospital, in Sanaa on March 17, 2016.

Hospitals and clinics around the country have suffered shortages of medicines and fuel, meaning millions live in areas that have virtually no medical care. UNICEF said nearly 600 health facilities nationwide have stopped working.

Hani Mohammed / AP