85,000 young children may have died as result of 'extreme hunger' in Yemen

UN officials last month said half the population in the country faces 'pre-famine conditions'

85,000 young children may have died as result of 'extreme hunger' in Yemen

A malnourished child is seen at a hospital in Hajjah province, Yemen. Picture by: Mohammed Mohammed/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

A charity says as many as 85,000 children under the age of five may have died from malnutrition or disease as a result of the war in Yemen.

Save the Children estimates that 84,701 children with Severe Acute Malnutrition may have died between April 2015 and October 2018.

The aid agency notes that it used a 'conservative estimate' to come up with its figures.

Blockades and fighting have limited access to key ports and supply points in Yemen - limiting aid agencies' ability to reach civilians impacted by the ongoing war.

Tamer Kirolos, Save the Children’s Country Director in Yemen, said: “We are horrified that some 85,000 children in Yemen may have died because of extreme hunger since the war began. For every child killed by bombs and bullets, dozens are starving to death and it’s entirely preventable.

“Children who die in this way suffer immensely as their vital organ functions slow down and eventually stop... Parents are having to witness their children wasting away, unable to do anything about it."  

The charity is calling for an "immediate end to the fighting so no more lives are lost".

Fighting between Iran-backed Houthi rebels and the ousted Yemeni government – supported by a Saudi-led coalition – has been ongoing for the last several years, intensifying a crisis that began with a revolution in 2011.

The conflict has resulted in what's been described by the UN as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

UN officials last month said around 14 million people in Yemen - amounting to half its total population - are facing “pre-famine conditions".