Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict, and Save the Children, issued the appeal Thursday at the launch of a new joint report on how the destruction of Yemen’s healthcare infrastructure is harming children in that country, voanews.com reported.
“In Yemen, medical facilities and personnel are being systematically attacked as a tactic of war, preventing children’s access to healthcare,” said Christine Monaghan researcher for Watchlist and the author of the report.
Citing Red Cross statistics, the advocacy groups said the warring parties are responsible for at least 160 attacks on medical facilities and personnel over the last two years.
The attacks have led to the destruction of an already weak healthcare system, and children, already among the most vulnerable, are suffering severely as a result.
“Eight-point-one million children lack access to basic healthcare – an increase of more than 70 percent over the past few years,” Monaghan said. “Children are dying of preventable diseases, including malnutrition, diarrhea and respiratory infections.”
According to the UNICEF, a child in Yemen dies every 10 minutes from a preventable disease.
Last July, then-UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon included the Saudi Arabian-led coalition on the annual blacklist as one of the parties that kills and maims children and engages in attacks on schools and hospitals. He later removed them, citing “undue pressure” from the oil-rich nation and threats of defunding of lifesaving UN programs.
Armed with American and British ammunition and European warplanes, among other Western-supported military hardware, Riyadh has been incessantly pounding Yemen since 2015 in a bid to reinstall the country’s ex-government and crush the Houthi Ansarullah movement.
The kingdom has also imposed an aerial and naval blockade on its southern neighbor.
The war has killed over 12,000 Yemenis, according to recent tallies.