World is abandoning Yemen’s children in their hour of greatest need

Monday 24 April 2017

Khalil*, 9, was injured after an airstrike hit their home on January 1, 2017. Mohammed Awadh/Save the Children

Save the Children has spokespeople in Geneva at Tuesday’s high-level donor conference for the crisis in Yemen

The world is abandoning Yemen’s children in their hour of greatest need, Save the Children says on the eve of a major international donor conference in Geneva. As the country teeters on the brink of famine, only 14% of the $2.1 billion needed to save lives this year has so far been pledged.

Not a single dollar of the $36.5m needed to reopen schools and get children back into education has been committed, despite 1660 schools being bombed or closed and many more at imminent risk of closure as teachers have not been paid for six months. Less than 9% of child protection funding – needed to provide children with safe spaces and psychological support, and help children forcibly recruited by armed groups – has come through. Children make up a third of civilian casualties in Yemen, with an average of nearly six child casualties every day.

Grant Pritchard, Save the Children’s Interim Yemen Director, said:

“Tragically the figures suggest that during the period of this donor conference another six children will be killed or injured – the unacceptable cost of the world’s failure to act. As famine looms closer, funding for food and nutrition is vital for saving children’s lives right now, but they also need safety and a future. We must invest in education and protection before we lose an entire generation of psychologically scarred and uneducated children.

“There are donor countries at the conference who are profiting from sending arms that destroy children’s families, homes and schools, yet they are failing to provide aid to the children who live with the horrific consequences.”

Yemen’s education crisis has forced one in four children – nearly 2 million – out of school.

  • At least 1,449 schools have been damaged by bombing and shelling – two every day of the conflict so far – with another 143 schools turned into makeshift shelters for families fleeing their homes.
  • At least 24 schools have been taken over for military use.
  • 73% of teachers have not received any salary for more than six months. In many cases schools are only able to stay open because dedicated teachers are working for free, while struggling to feed their own families. 

The UN and partners’ 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen calls for $2.1bn to address the country’s crisis fuelled by two years of brutal war. A third of the way through the year, just $313.6m has been pledged. Only $6.3m of the $72.2m requested for child protection has been committed, while none of the $36.5m requested for education projects has been pledged.

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