The UN’s humanitarian aid chief has described the sight of Yemeni children suffering malnutrition as a result of the country’s 18-month conflict as “absolutely devastating.”
According to the UN children’s agency, UNICEF, nearly three million people in Yemen are in need of immediate food supplies, while 1.5 million children suffer malnutrition. That figure includes around 370,000 children enduring very severe malnutrition that weakens their immune system.
At the end of a two-day visit to rebel-held Sanaa, the UN’s Stephen O’Brien said he had visited a hospital in the Red Sea city of Hodeidah, where he met “very small children affected by malnutrition”.
“It is, of course absolutely, devastating when you see such terrible malnutrition,” he said, hailing the efforts of relief agencies trying to meet the “very severe needs” for food in the country.
“We need to do more. We need to do everything we can to meet the very large scale of needs which are here in Yemen,” he said, in his first visit since August last year.
O’Brien also said the “very best humanitarian solution is that we see a political solution to this crisis”.
The conflict between Yemen’s government and Houthi rebels escalated last year after the fighters captured the capital Sanaa and other territory, and a Saudi-led Arab coalition intervened militarily in support of the Yemeni President.
The coalition has imposed a sea blockade on Yemen and conducts daily air strikes on areas under the rebels’ control, both of which add to the misery of the Yemeni people and to the acute shortage of food and medical supplies in the country.
- Pray for Yemen, for and end to the fighting and a lifting of the sea blockade to supplies of food and aid to reach the country.
- Pray for aid agencies working in Yemen, for safety for their people and for the ability to reach those who desperately need food and medical aid.
- Pray for Yemen’s children, the innocent victims of the war. Pray for access to food and education for these often traumatised children, and for Jesus to reveal His healing love to these fragile lives.
- Pray for believers in Yemen, who often have to keep their faith secret. Pray for protection over their homes and families, for their faith to grow strong, and for their lives to be a witness to neighbours and families, especially in this time of uncertainty.
Deuteronomy 10 vs 17 – 18: “For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome … who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them with food and clothing.“