One Child Dies Every 10 Minutes In Yemen As Saudi-Led, US-Backed War Continues

By MintPress,
30 December 2016. At least 1,219 children have died as a result of the fighting
in Yemen, but a chronic lack of health care will causing an additional 10,000
preventable deaths per year, according to a briefing from the NGO Save the
Children International.
A boy with fake blood
on his face and clothes to represent a victim participates in a protest against
Saudi-led airstrikes in Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016. (AP/Hani Mohammed)
SANAA, Yemen — The U.S.-backed, Saudi-led war on
Yemen has devastated the civilian population, and poverty, disease, and
starvation are taking a heavy toll on the country’s children.
The Yemeni struggled for years
with poverty and a lack of quality health care even before the war began, but
the conflict has driven the nation to the verge of total collapse and pushed
child mortality rates way up.
“Now, the situation is much worse
and an estimated 1,000 children are dying every week from preventable killers
like diarrhoea, malnutrition and respiratory tract infections,” said 
Edward Santiago, Yemen director for the NGO Save the Children.
At least 1,219 children have died
as a direct result of the war in Yemen, but a desperate lack of medical
supplies, bombed-out hospitals, and missing or dead medical staff are likely to
cause an additional 10,000 preventable deaths each year, according to “
Struggling to Survive: Stories
from Yemen’s collapsing health system
,” a briefing published on Dec.
19 by Save the Children International.
War in Yemen erupted in March of
2015, shortly after Houthi  rebels took over the government. In retaliation,
a coalition led by Saudi Arabia, and supported by the U.S. government, began a
vicious bombing campaign that 
deliberately targeted civilian infrastructure from hospitals to sources
of fresh water
According to a Dec. 6 report from the BBC which uses United Nations
data, 50 percent of hospitals and other medical facilities have been rendered
inoperable by the war. There’s also a critical shortage of medical staff and
medicine, and impoverished families struggle to afford life-saving care even
when it’s available.
Santiago added:
“With parents losing their jobs
and livelihoods owing to the chaos of war, many told us they have to sell
belongings like jewellery, vehicles, gas canisters and land just to be able to
afford the trip to hospital while others have taken out loans. Once there, they
often can’t afford the cost of the medicines their children urgently need while
many other parents find the facility just does not have life-saving medicines.”
Many human rights analysts have
Yemen’s people are being
deliberately starved to death
, both by bombings and by an
ongoing blockade on life-saving supplies. Earlier this month, UNICEF estimated
2.2 million Yemeni children
suffer from some form of malnutrition
. Of that total, 462,000
children suffer from severe acute malnutrition, the most severe form of
malnutrition, marking a 
200 percent increase in malnutrition rates since 2014.
“At least one child dies every
ten minutes in Yemen because of preventable diseases such as diarrhoea,
malnutrition and respiratory tract infections,” 
the U.N. agency reported.
Dr. Meritxell Relano, UNICEF’s
acting representative in Yemen, added: “The state of health of children in the
Middle East’s poorest country has never been as catastrophic as it is today.”
Relano reported that the war has
undone years of work by humanitarian aid workers in the region:
“Violence and conflict have
reversed significant gains made in the last decade in the health and nutrition
of Yemeni children. Diseases such as cholera and measles have spread and, with
few health facilities functional, such outbreaks are taking a heavy toll on