As winter approaches, international organisations working in Yemen are finding an opportunity to review and show the tragedies of childhood in Yemen, although the suffering of Yemen’s children has not stopped since the start of the Saudi-led aggression against the country.
According to most social researchers, what connects Yemeni children to childhood is only their age, due to the suffering that forces them to bear the burdens that only adults can afford.
Last Friday, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said it needed $14.3 million to help nearly 500,000 people in Yemen to cope with the cold of the coming winter.
Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said that “the spectre of famine has returned” in Yeme-n, just as it did two years ago when swift international action saved thousands of lives.
This time, however, those in a position to help — and with a particular responsibility to do so — are mostly choosing not to.
Turning to financing humanitarian efforts, he said that increased funding in 2019 was the main reason that famine was prevented, but, this year, only 30 per cent of what is needed has been received.
Several donors — including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, which have a particular responsibility — have so far given nothing this year.
“It is particularly reprehensible to promise money, which gives people hope that help may be on the way, and then to dash those hopes by simply failing to fulfil the promise.
” With more than 9 million people affected by deepening cuts to aid programmes, holding back money will be a death sentence for many families, he said, calling on all donors to immediately make good on their pledges and increase their support.
Tunisia’s representative said that military options can only deepen the violence, loss of life and humanitarian tragedies in Yemen, undermining the ability to find a political solution.
He urged the parties to adhere to a ceasefire and put the interests of the Y emeni people first.
He added that the conflict has already deepened their suffering, which has been exacerbated further by the COVID-19 pandemic and underlined the importance of continued aid deliveries to avert a looming famine.
The winter represents an extraordinary challenge for relief organizations in Yeme n, especially as more and more families have been displaced from their homes due to the ongoing military clashes in the country for nearly six years.
The Humanitarian Council in Sana’a announced on Friday that the number of displaced people in the country reached four million in 2020.
In a statement issued last year, UNICEF said the number of displaced children in Yemen had reached 2 million.
Children in Yeme n, especially those displaced, face difficult living conditions, many of whom live in camps that lack the most basic sustenance, and sometimes have to travel a long way to get drinking water.
During the harsh winter in Yemen’s mountainous and desert regions, children and their families live in tents that have been torn apart by weather conditions and are no longer able to maintain a livable temperature during winter.