Yemen: a country malnourished
Approximately 267,000 children suffer from acute malnutrition, Mohammed Al-Asadi, the communication officer at UNICEF, said.
“If the children that suffer from acute malnutrition don’t receive appropriate relief, many of them face death or, if they survive, may suffer from physical and mental disabilities,” he added.
Recent research suggests that Yemen has suffered from malnutrition since the late 1970s, which is apparent in the diminutive height of many Yemenis. This is due to malnutrition, according to Al-Asadi.
“Yemenis think that they are genetically short and thin. It’s a misplaced assumption,” he stated.
Al-Asadi indicated that places in Yemen worst affected by malnutrition are in the coastal governorates to the west of the country such as Hodeida, Hajja, and some areas in Taiz, as well as governorates in the south such as Lahj, Aden and Abyan.
62 percent of the children under five in the north-western Al-Mahweet governorate suffer from chronic malnutrition. In Hodeida, 28% of children suffer from acute malnutrition in addition to 47% suffering from chronic malnutrition, according to Barry Came.
Al-Asadi pointed out that there are other reasons for widespread malnutrition in addition to the lack of food in Yemen, such as the lack of clean drinking water which causes diarrhea that wastes any food and nutrients that children eat.
He added that the lack of good sanitation, the lack of nutritional awareness as well as poor eating habits can also affect the level of food in Yemen.
Al-Asadi stressed the importance of social cooperation among Yemenis to limit the side effects of the current situation in governorates across Yemen.
Barry Came said that the rates of malnutrition may increase if there is nothing serious done to tackle these problems.
Al-Asadi said that aid should be provided along two tracks in order to maximize the benefit: the first of these is to provide urgent food relief to children and the second is to channel aid towards developmental projects to help create new job vacancies, which will provide a basis of self-sustainability for the country.