Nearly 2.2 million Yemeni children are acutely malnourished, victims of the near-collapse of the healthcare system during two years of escalating conflict, UNICEF said Tuesday (December 13th).
At least 462,000 are suffering from severe acute malnutrition, as food supplies have been disrupted by the war between the Yemeni government and the Houthis (Ansarallah), AFP reported.
Saada province, a Houthi bastion in the far north, has the world's highest stunting rate among children with eight out of 10 children affected in some areas, UNICEF said.
"Malnutrition in Yemen is at an all-time high and increasing," said UNICEF's acting country representative, Meritxell Relano.
"The state of health of children in the Middle East's poorest country has never been as catastrophic as it is today," he said.
At least one child dies every 10 minutes in Yemen because of malnutrition and preventable diseases such as diarrhoea and respiratory infections.
"Diseases such as cholera and measles have spread and, with few health facilities functional, such outbreaks are taking a heavy toll on children," Relano said.
"We call on parties to the conflict to give us unhindered access to children in need across the country so we are able to deliver nutrition supplies, treat malnourished children and support Yemen's health services," he said.