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ALMOST a quarter of the civilians who died in Yemen in the last three years were children, a humanitarian aid charity reported today.
An analysis by Save the Children revealed that 2,341 minors died in the war-torn country between 2018 and 2020.
The six-year conflict between Iranian-backed Houthi rebels and the Western-backed government’s forces has already caused one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, with 1.8 million children under five suffering from moderate acute malnutrition.
The charity warned that the conflict is becoming even deadlier for children.
“In 2018, one in five civilian casualties were children, but in 2019 and 2020, that jumped to one in four,” Save the Children said.
“It’s a stark reminder that children and families are paying the heaviest price for this brutal war through no fault of their own."
Yemeni children have been living through a horrific and endless nightmare, said Xavier Joubert, the charity’s country director for Yemen.
“Children continue to be killed and injured on a near-daily basis. They go to bed hungry, see people starving to death and miss out on school,” he said.
"Every day, children risk death or injury if they venture outside and get caught up in the frequent shelling and bombing of places where they should feel safe – homes, schools, hospitals and marketplaces."
Campaign Against Arm Trade (CAAT) argued that the only way to end Yemen's humanitarian catastrophe was for all parties to the conflict to fully implement an immediate ceasefire and work towards a sustainable peace and a political solution to the war.
A CAAT spokesperson told the Star: “The UK must stop arming this war. Half the Saudi aircraft whose bombing campaign is exacting such a terrible toll on Yemen’s children are British.
“The UK government should also work with the US to bring the warring parties to the table to bring about a durable peace. Meanwhile, the cuts in UK aid to Yemen must be reversed as a matter of urgency, before famine claims tens of thousands more lives.”
Save the Children UK chief executive Kevin Watkins also called on the British government to help end the man-made famine in Yemen.
“If the UN’s predictions are correct, the worst famine in decades could kill hundreds of thousands of children. That must not happen,” Mr Watkins said.
“The UK must use its position at the UN security council to bring the warring parties around the negotiating table, secure an immediate ceasefire and urgently reverse its decision to cut life-saving aid to vulnerable children who need our help.”
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