ACTNews, SANA’A – The news that ACTNews received from Yemen was quite heartbreaking. Children suffering from malnutrition have been a common sight in this war-torn country when Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT)’s SOS for Yemen I team distributed food packages to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP). The starvation that afflicts Yemeni children showed the terrible impact of the Yemeni conflict on innocent civilians.
“It’s not difficult to see malnourished children here. They are almost in every district and every village. It’s heartbreaking to see how they live in starvation due to the destructive conflict,” said Rudi Purnomo of SOS for Yemen I, Thursday (11/22).
Mohammed Ramadan, a malnourished Yemeni child.
He first met Mohammed Ramadan, a five-year-old boy of Hamdan District in the suburb of Sana’a. Ramadan’s parents were aware that their boy is malnourished. Ramadan’s weight never significantly increased. According to Ramadan’s parents, he can’t eat food in large quantity.
“Everything he ate will come back up because his body can’t properly process food. Ramadan’s weight is now only five kilograms. That’s too small for a boy his age,” said Purnomo after talking with Ramadan’s parents.
At the age of three, Ali Nimah still looks like an infant due to malnutrition.
Purnomo also met Ali Nimah, a three-year-old child who still couldn’t walk. “He still can’t walk because his body didn’t grow well. At first glance, I thought he was an infant because he was carried. It turned out that he is also malnourished,” stated Purnomo.
Not only in Hamdan District, many malnourished children could also be found in a local hospital in Sana’a. One of them was a one-month-old infant.
At only one-month-old, Yusra Saleh Mufreh’s weighed only 700 grams.
Her name was Yusra Saleh Mufreh, the youngest patient in the hospital who had been suffering from malnutrition since birth. She weighed only 700 grams. “Yusra is still not allowed to be brought home. She still needs treatments for her terrible health condition,” said Purnomo.
Mohammed Ramadan, Ali Nimah and Yusra Saleh Mufreh showed that the prolonged conflict has resulted in unending sufferings for the civilians especially the IDP. Another example of how the war has terribly affected children was the death of Hajar Al-Faqeh.
Al-Faqeh was an infant who died from malnutrition from which she had suffered for four months. Although she received medical treatments, she could not survive. She was yet another victim of crisis caused by the war that has lasted for more than three years.
The UNICEF Representative in Yemen, said in September that more than 11 million children, were facing the threat of food shortages.
Meritxell Relano, the UNICEF Representative in Yemen, said in September that more than 11 million children, or about 80 percent of the country’s population under the age of 18, were facing the threat of food shortages, disease, displacement and acute lack of access to basic social services. The war has turned Yemen into ‘a living hell’.
The situation worsened as Hodeidah who holds an essential role as the gateway for imported goods and humanitarian aid to enter Yemen became a center of turmoil as warring factions fight for its control. With millions of people unemployed, Yemenis now rely solely on humanitarian aid.
“We hope that the Indonesians will pray for us. May ACT be able to keep struggling to alleviate the malnourished children of Yemen so that children like Mohammad, Ali and Yusra can grow up, be healthy, and no longer live in starvation and malnutrition,” concluded Purnomo.