ACTNews, HODEIDAH – It was in mid-August 2018 when Nawal Al-Maghafi, a BBC contributor in Yemen, reported a heartbreaking incident of a child who died of starvation in Hodeidah, Yemen. The three-year-old ‘Ala died in the Intensive Care Unit of Hodeidah Central Hospital.
Abdullah Zuhayri, the doctor, invited Al-Maghafi to see ‘Ala’s family. The child suffered from immune failure. With cholera and malnutrition that also afflicted him, he needed intensive care. Unfortunately, since patients had been flocking in the hospital, there were no beds available.
“We have started to see so many cases of malnutrition. Now, it’s not only the poor bringing their children here, we are seeing cases of severely malnourished children from middle class families,” said Dorcor Zuhayri.
The relentless fighting has unfortunately led to frequent blackout in the hospital, the intermittent electricity has hampered the medical treatments in the hospital since many medical equipment became barely functional.
The prolonged conflict has left many Yemeni cities barely operating, like Sana’a and Hodeidah, a Yemeni port city which has been blocked blocked, stopping imported goods from entering the country. Consequently, food and other basic needs became barely available.
“I couldn’t believe my very own eyes…I was watching little girls and little boys die before my very own eyes because of this war…Last year, we were able to avert four countries facing famine because we had money and access. We can do the same thing in Yemen if we had not just the money but we must have the access,” said David Beasley, Executive Director of World Food Program on CNN, Thursday (12/6). He further stated that children were dying every 10-12 minutes.
Beasley were also calling on all sides to do at least three things: to bring peace, to have humanitarian funding and access to stabilize the economy and, most importantly, to end the war.
The famine and malnutrition from which the Yemeni children have been suffering have become an international concern. Indonesia is among the countries who has sent aid. In mid-November, Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT) distributed hundreds of packages of food supplies in the cities of Sana’a and Ibb where the Internally Displaced People from Hodeidah and other regions live.
Apart from distributing food and clean water, ACT also supported local health clinic in Qa’a Alerah, in Sana’a in an effort to alleviate the malnutrition of Yemeni children. The program began on Monday (12/3) and will continue for the next six months.
In Qa’a Alerah Clinic, the children had their nutritional status examined. They were also given supplements and nutritious food. “Insha Allah, ACT supported the provision of supplemental vitamins. Furthermore, we will initiate regular programs for the alleviation of Yemeni children’s malnutrition,” explained Rudi Purnomo of SOS for Yemen – ACT. this program is one of ACT’s efforts to ease the malnutrition and famine in Yemen.