In Yemen, there more than 1 million acutely malnourished children under 5 living in areas where cholera infection levels are high.
This is incredibly dangerous. Children who are malnourished are three times as likely to die if they get cholera, because of their weakened immune systems.
And even if they survive, they are not safe: diseases that cause diarrhoea, like cholera, can cause malnutrition. This puts children at risk of starvation.
After two years of bombs, rockets and bullets, children in Yemen face a triple threat: war, hunger and cholera.
How did this happen?
The rapid spread of cholera has been caused by a deadly combination factors:
- Near-famine rates of malnutrition and food insecurity.
- No access to safe drinking water for two-thirds of the population (according to the UN).
- An effective block on resources, including medical supplies, from entering the country
- Few working medical facilities, and medical staff who haven’t been paid for months
Cholera is an easily treatable disease. But the escalating conflict in Yemen – where a Saudi-led coalition is bombing children – has left many without access to basic healthcare.
Tamer Kirolos, our Country Director for Yemen has said, “After two years of armed conflict, children are trapped in a brutal cycle of starvation and sickness. And it’s simply unacceptable.”
What is being done?
We’re scaling-up our response as fast as we can, prioritising eight key governorates so that we can reach the children who need us the most. Our work includes:
- Supporting people through our Diarrhoea Treatment Centres and Oral Rehydration Therapy Corners
- Training health workers and community volunteers, and providing medical supplies
- Raising awareness about the causes of cholera, and hygiene
In May this year, we reached almost 50,000 children.
But as the brutal conflict shows no sign of abating, and the crisis for children gets worse, we urgently need more funding.