ACTNews, SANA’A – It is probably hard to think that, in year 2018, there are people out there who have no access to proper food. For those living in secure, peaceful countries, they have plenty of choices of food to eat. With phone or internet connection, they can even order food in the comfort of their houses. Just with a few clicks, delicious meals will be delivered to them.
Meanwhile, in other sides of the world, in countries devastated by wars, food becomes a luxury. Bread, rice or other staple foods are too expensive to buy. Starvation and disease spread, causing deaths of the innocents.
Ironically, many of us are far too ignorant of this ongoing crisis. We continue taking everything we have for granted. We keep indulging ourselves with excessive eating that leads to tons of food waste.
In Yemen, a country located near Gulf of Aden, people are living in food deprivation as the raging civil war has caused the prices to soar uncontrollably.
Since the beginning of the war three years ago, an estimated number of 85,000 children under five years old have died due to acute malnutrition, says a leading charity working in Yemen.
The cases of malnutrition in Yemen reflect how the ongoing civil war has badly affected medical facilities in the country. Many of them have been rendered useless due to shortage of medical supplies and personnel.
Malnourished children amid limited medical facility
Rudi Purnomo of Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT)’s SOS for Yemen team wrote to ACTNews from Sana’a, telling that there are plenty of malnutrition cases among Yemeni children.
On Wednesday (11/28), Purnomo wrote that he visited Bani Al-Harith Village in Sana’a where one community health clinic is filled with malnourished children.
“In Bani Al-Harith Village, there are 10,000 people, but it has only one medical clinic. In recent month, there are 24 cases of critically malnourished children in the village,” said Purnomo.
He added that there were no safe places for Yemeni children. The Yemeni children were stricken with fear due to the raging conflict. They have only two choices: either being killed by bombs and bullets or slowly dying from malnutrition.
“In the clinic in Bani Al-Harith Village, we gathered the medical records. We found out that malnutrition has spread among children in the village. One child was carried by his father to be medically examined. The father’s hand was amputated because of the war,” said Purnomo.
The father came to the clinic in Bani Al-Harith to have his little son treated.
“My name is Muhammad Waji. My left hand was amputated. My son is suffering from malnutrition, and he has been sick. His body is deprived of proper nutrients and nourishment,” said Waji.
The malnutrition problem got worse with the lack of medical supplies and personnel. Purnomo mentioned that the clinic he visited in Bani Al-Harith had only limited resources and medics.
“There has been no supply of medicines in recent months. There are only limited number of medics. The malnourished children were only weighed in without further medical actions to solve the problem,” said Purnomo.
Responding to the heartbreaking situation in Sana’a, Purnomo stated that there will be a humanitarian initiative from Indonesia for the medical clinic in Bani Al-Harith.
“On behalf of Indonesians, we, SOS for Yemen – ACT team, will support the clinic in Bani Al-Harith so that it can adequately treat the malnourished. ACT’s Malnutrition Project will be initiated soon. Medicines and medical equipment will be supplied to the only clinic in the village,” said Purnomo.
In mid-November, The Guardian wrote that Yemen is “careering toward absolute devastation”. Over the past two months, there has been a massive deterioration in what is available at affordable prices. As the value of the Yemeni riyal drops, people simply can’t buy enough food.
Furthermore, Guardian wrote that, of a population of 28 million people, nearly 18 million survive with the help of food assistance.
“More than half of the healthcare structures in the country are closed. And with families now having so little buying power, they often must make the excruciating choice between food and medical care,” wrote Johannes Bruwer, the outgoing head of delegation for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Yemen, reporting for The Guardian.