UNICEF says it needs $484 million in funding to be able to continue its work in the war-torn Arab country, adding one child in Yemen dies every 10 minutes from "preventable causes."
The UN children's agency UNICEF has said it requires nearly $500 million to be able to continue its humanitarian action in Yemen, warning that if the funding is not received, it might be forced to scale down its vital assistance for vulnerable children.
"More than 540,000 children under the age of five [are] suffering life-threatening severe acute malnutrition, with one child continuing to die every 10 minutes from preventable causes," UNICEF said on Friday.
"If funding is not received, UNICEF might be forced to scale down its vital assistance for vulnerable children," it added in a statement, released ahead of the eight-year anniversary of the Saudi-led coalition's intervention in the war.
It said it requires $484 million to continue assistance this year, but the UN raised only $1.2 billion for all its agencies in Yemen at a pledging conference in Switzerland last month, well short of the $4.3 billion target.
"The funding gap UNICEF continued to face through 2022 and since the beginning of 2023 is putting the required humanitarian response for children in Yemen at risk," it said.
The UNICEF's humanitarian response in Yemen includes education, nutrition, health and WASH services; without it, the children's potential of surviving would drastically fall.
Over 20 million in need of assistance
Yemen's war broke out in 2014 and quickly saw Houthi rebels seize the capital Sanaa, prompting Saudi-led forces to intervene to prop up the government the following year.
Saudi-led forces launched their first assaults against Houthi positions on March 26, 2015.
A truce expired last year, but fighting has remained largely on hold.
More than 11,000 children are known to have been killed or maimed since the conflict escalated in 2015.
A total of 11 million children are in need of humanitarian assistance, UNICEF says.
Fighting in Yemen has triggered what the UN describes as one of the world's worst humanitarian tragedies.
The UN says more than 21.7 million — two-thirds of Yemen's population — need humanitarian assistance this year.