Nearly 2.3 million or half of children under the age of five in war-devastated Yemen are vulnerable to acute malnutrition this year, four United Nations agencies warned on Friday.
Around 400,000 out of those children were expected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition and could die, they said.
The figures mark an increase in acute malnutrition and severe acute malnutrition of 16 per cent and 22 per cent, respectively, among this age bracket in Yemen compared to 2020.
The warnings were jointly made by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the UN Children’s fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“The increasing number of children going hungry in Yemen should shock us all into action,’’ said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.
“More children will die with every day that passes without action.
“Humanitarian organisations need urgent predictable resources and unhindered access to communities on the ground to be able to save lives,’’ she added.
“These numbers are yet another cry for help from Yemen where each malnourished child also means a family struggling to survive,’’ WFP Executive Director David Beasley said.
Yemen has been roiled by a devastating power struggle between a Saudi-backed government and the Iran-linked rebels since late 2014.
The conflict had escalated since 2015 when Saudi Arabia led a military campaign in the impoverished country.
The feud has pushed the country to the brink of famine and wrecked its health facilities.
The UN has described Yemen as the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis.