Source: News Bharati English05 Oct 2016 15:18:21

Sana'a, Oct 5: The United Nations report has expressed serious concern over the ‘devastating’ plight of child victims in Yemen war. The condition of children there has deteriorated because of undernourishment and their condition is “absolutely devastating”, said a report by UN Under-Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Coordination, Stephen O.Brien.

The condition of children there has deteriorated because of undernourishment and their condition is “absolutely devastating”, said a report by UN Under-Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Coordination, Stephen O.Brien.

O’Brien was interacting with reporters in the Yemen capital city of Sana’a at the fag end of his two-day official visit. He visited a hospital in Hodeida on the Red Sea, where he met’very young children suffering from malnutrition.

At least 1.5 million children suffer from undernourishment, out of which 370,000 are in critical condition. The naval blockade imposed by the Saudi Arabia has sharpened the emergency, he said.

Confirming the seriousness of the situation, Stephen O'Brien thanked humanitarian agencies present in the field for their work in trying to alleviate the ‘dire need’ of food in the country. “We must do more” he pointed out at the end of the first visit in more than a year. “We must do everything we can” - he added – “to meet the large scale needs that have emerged in Yemen.”

According to data provided by UNICEF, in Yemen there are about three million people in ‘immediate’ need of food and basic necessities; at least half of the 28 million population is facing chronic shortages of food.

A maritime blockade on rebel-held areas, imposed by the Saudi-led Arab coalition that supports President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, prevents the ships reaching the ports and delivering supplies, aid, and stocks (food and non-food).

For the UN Under-Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs the “best solution at a humanitarian level” is a “political” breakthrough in the ‘crisis’ that silences the guns. However, until an agreement is reached, he warned, it is ‘our duty to work for everyone to respond to humanitarian needs’ and ‘have the opportunity to do so’ in an ‘impartial’ way wherever there are ‘needs to be met.’

Since January 2015, Yemen has been the scene of a bloody internal conflict pitting the country’s Sunni leaders, backed by Riyadh, against Shia Houthi rebels, close to Iran.

In March 2015, a Saudi-led coalition began air strikes against the rebels in an attempt to free the capital Sana'a and bring back then exiled President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi. So far the air campaign – criticised by the UN - has killed at least 6,600 people, mostly civilians, and many children. At least 2.5 million people have been displaced from their homes.

For Saudi Arabia, the Houthis, allied to forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, are supported militarily by Iran, a charge that Tehran rejects.

Extremist groups linked to al Qaeda and jihadist militias linked to Islamic State are active in the country, a fact that has helped escalate violence and terror.