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50,000 children in Yemen have died of starvation and disease so far this year, monitoring group says

Published: November 25, 2017
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Source: Chicago Tribune

An international aid group says an estimated 130 children or more die every day in war-torn Yemen from extreme hunger and disease.

Save the Children said late Wednesday that a continuing blockade by the Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen's Shiite rebels is likely to further increase the death rate. It says over 50,000 children are believed to have died in 2017.

Saudi Arabia blocked Yemen's ports after a rebel missile attack near Riyadh. It said Monday the coalition would lift the blockade after widespread international criticism.

On Thursday, the leaders of the World Health Organization, the U.N. children's agency and the World Food Program issued a joint appeal for the easing of the blockade.

"While the Saudi-led military coalition has partially lifted the recent blockade of Yemen, closure of much of the country's air, sea and land ports is making an already catastrophic situation far worse," they said.

"The space and access we need to deliver humanitarian assistance is being choked off, threatening the lives of millions of vulnerable children and families."

The Saudi-led coalition went to war against the rebels, known as Houthis, in March 2015 on behalf of Yemen's internationally recognized government. But the coalition has made little progress, and the rebels still control much of northern Yemen, including the capital, Sanaa.

The war has killed more than 10,000 people and displaced 3 million. Yemen was the Arab world's poorest country even before the conflict began.

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