A Macabre Situation…
It may be said that the year 2018 did not go well for Yemen, as the West Asian nation witnessed death of thousands of children. At least 85,000 children, under the age of five, have died due to malnutrition in Yemen in the last four years. A British voluntary organisation confirmed the number after conducting a survey from 2015 to April 2018.
As per the survey, the situation deteriorated after clashes broke out in the Yemeni port city of Al-Hudaydah. The UN and the global community used to send aid to Yemen via Al-Hudaydah port. However, the ongoing clashes between the coalition led by Saudi Arabia and supporters of Iran-backed Houthi armed movement disrupt the normal life in Al-Hudaydah and other Yemeni cities. While Saudi Arabia has launched military operations to restore the former Yemeni government, the internationally recognised government – led by Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi – is countering the coalition with the help of the Houthi supporters and their allies. At least 10,000 people have been killed in the last four years.
The UN has expressed serious concern over the situation, saying in a statement that the country is slowly moving towards a famine-like situation that has not been witnessed in Yemen in last 100 years! According to the world body, 14 million people are waiting for death in Yemen.
The British organisation has mentioned in its report that the supply of food items has decreased by about 55,000 metric tonnes per month in recent times due to the closure of Al-Hudaydah port. Otherwise, the government could have fed 44 million people, it added. At least, half of these people are children. The voluntary organisation has opined that it is important to ensure a steady supply of foods to Yemen in order to save the children.
Currently, the concerned authorities use the port in Aden to receive foreign aid. It takes a longer time to deliver foods to the people. It becomes increasingly difficult for the authorities to reopen the Al-Hudaydah port. After considering the situation, the government of Yemen has urged the global community to help Sana’a restore peace in the country. As per a study conducted by the UN, the number of severely malnourished Yemeni children could touch four million in 2018, 15,000 more than in 2017!
Another Asian nation, India, (too) is not on track to reach 2025 nutrition targets or achieve zero hunger by 2030. As per the 2018 Global Nutrition Report (GNR 2018), although the increased food security and access led to fewer malnourished and anaemic Indians in 2017 than in the preceding decade, the South Asian nation needs to do much more to meet its nutrition goals.
In 2015, the World Health Organisation (WHO) set nine nutrition goals – including reduce child overweight, wasting and stunting, diabetes among women and men, anaemia in women of reproductive age and obesity among women and men, and increase exclusive breastfeeding – for its member countries that would have to be achieved by 2025. Unfortunately, India has made no progress in the last three years. The declining parameters related to the nine global nutrition goals show that New Delhi has failed to take necessary steps in order to change the scenario. Now, India is home to over 30.9% of all stunted children under five – the highest in the world!
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