UNICEF Representative to Yemen Philippe Duamelle stated Saturday that 47 children in war-torn Yemen have been killed or maimed in just the first two months of 2022.
UNICEF has verified that more than 10,200 children have been killed or injured in Yemen over the past seven years. The actual number is likely to be much higher. About two million children have been internally displaced, and thousands more have been recruited for fighting. Yemenis are currently faced with a dire shortage of food, with nearly 2.3 million children under the age of five suffering from acute malnutrition.
Duamelle urged the parties and other stakeholders to the conflict to protect civilians, especially children:
Following the intensification of the conflict in 2021, violence has continued to escalate this year and as always children are the first and most to suffer . . . Children’s safety, their well-being and protection must be safeguarded at all times. Violence, misery and grief have been commonplace in Yemen with severe consequences on millions of children and families. It is high time that a sustainable political solution is reached for people and their children to finally live in the peace they so well deserve.
The conflict in Yemen escalated in 2015 when President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi was ousted by Houthi rebels who took over the capital. The Houthis, a Zaidi Shia Muslim minority supporting group, seized control of the Saada province before 2014 and then moved to expand their operations. Saudi Arabia and other mostly Sunni Arab States restored the Hadi government through an airstrike campaign.
Since then, rebel forces have persisted in Sanaa and northwest Yemen despite several attacks by the Saudi coalition. In 2021, the conflict intensified as a result of the Houthi offensive in oil-rich government stronghold Marib. Since then, there has not been the possibility of a ceasefire.