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MumsnetGuestPosts (MNHQ) Thu 15-Dec-16 11:34:23

Guest post: "In Yemen, mothers are watching their babies die"

Alice Klein from Save the Children shares her colleague's insights from Yemen

Alice Klein

Save the Children

Posted on: Thu 15-Dec-16 11:34:23

(25 comments )

Lead photo

Aged four months, Ali received treatment for severe acute malnutrition Sabeen Hospital in Sana'a, Yemen

Yemen has long been one of the poorest countries in the Middle East but conflict, which escalated 20 months ago, has made a bad situation much worse.

Families have been forced to flee, people have lost their jobs and livelihoods, and food is now so scarce and unaffordable that we are seeing a major hunger crisis.

Hunger has hit babies and children the hardest. Now, a third of all children under five – around 1.3 million youngsters – are acutely malnourished. Wth no end to the conflict in sight, this number is likely to grow.

Mothers are watching their babies die. When mothers who are malnourished themselves are no longer able to breastfeed their babies, they have had to resort to alternatives such as plain water or unpasteurised animal milk. For babies with especially low immune systems, this can lead to infection, diarrhoea and – at worst – death.

When mothers who are malnourished themselves are no longer able to breastfeed their babies, they have had to resort to alternatives such as plain water or unpasteurised animal milk, which can lead to infection, diarrhoea and – at worst – death.


Yemen's health system is on the edge of collapse. Even when families can get their poorly children to the few health facilities still functioning, there aren't enough medical supplies or electricity to run life-saving incubators and other machines.

Ibrahim, 28, told our Yemeni colleagues at Save the Children why his nine-month-old son Ali was starving:

"There is not enough daily food for my children," he said. "I take some food like wheat and rice from the grocery and pay after I sell the sheep. My family misses the meat, fruits and vegetables; we do not have money to buy them because we are poor. Ali's body was so weak and he was always crying, not sleeping and refused to eat any food."

"When one of my family members gets sick I take them to Bajel hospital. There is a health facility just 5km from home but there aren't many health services available, they focus mostly on vaccinations as in this area there are no qualified doctors."

We must protect Yemen's children. The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) has launched a Yemen Crisis Appeal to help provide food, malnutrition treatment, clean water, sanitation support and cash for the millions of people in Yemen in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. If you would like to support DEC's Yemen Crisis Appeal, please donate here.

Names changed to protect identity.

Photo credit: Mark Kaye

By Alice Klein

Twitter: @decappeal

SuburbanRhonda Thu 15-Dec-16 12:24:52

Which is the best organisation to support? I watched the C4 special report on Yemen and it seems this crisis has been all but forgotten by the rest of the world.

SuburbanRhonda Thu 15-Dec-16 12:25:32

Sorry, just saw the link to the DEC appeal.

PausingFlatly Thu 15-Dec-16 13:55:38

We've just donated directly to the British Red Cross Yemen Appeal, but didn't realise until too late that we could have ticked Gift Aid - which would have bumped up our donation by 25%.

Donations via the DEC are always eligible for Gift Aid if you're a UK income tax payer, aren't they?

EstelleRoberts Thu 15-Dec-16 18:05:26

I donated to Oxfam's Yemen appeal a few days ago, having been reduced to tears by Fergal Keane's report for the BBC. It is a desperate, desperate situation. I'm pleased Mumsnet are highlighting this with a guest post. We all need to get behind this and donate, so mothers do not have to watch any more babies and children die.

welshgirlwannabe Thu 15-Dec-16 19:31:23

Thank you for highlighting this and providing links. I'm sat here reading it while breastfeeding my healthy nine month old, and my heart is breaking for the mothers and babies who suffer so. I will set up a direct debit on payday.

BeattieBowRisenFromTheDead Thu 15-Dec-16 20:53:00

Thank you for this. I didn't know about it. My budget is fairly tight but I will be making a donation. Needless to say I'm horrified and very upset by the situation.

Blerg Thu 15-Dec-16 22:07:26

This is awful. I have donated, thanks for highlighting the DEC. I heard about it on the radio but then forgot.

GraceGrape Thu 15-Dec-16 22:24:31

It's really shocking how little is known about this conflict. I have donated and shared news on social media but am not sure what else to do.

TulipsInAJug Thu 15-Dec-16 22:26:24

I first heard about this from a Tearfund appeal, a few days before the DEC published its appeal. I donated immediately without knowing much about the details. Then it hit the news.

I always make a large donation at Christmas time so this year it was for Yemen. sad

superking Thu 15-Dec-16 22:29:50

Have just donated, thank you for your post. Poor babies.

Pumpkintopf Fri 16-Dec-16 00:56:04

Donated. Thank you for sharing this.

Cranbrookornot Fri 16-Dec-16 05:41:13

Thanks for this. Have donated.

BillSykesDog Fri 16-Dec-16 07:35:12

This is awful. And we sold the Saudis the weapons to do this.

PotatoesPastaAndBread Fri 16-Dec-16 08:32:17

To the PP who forgot to gift aid - you can gift aid at any time. Just email Red Cross and tell them. They can then claim gift aid on all your donations.

I work for one of the Dec member charities. The Yemen crisis has been going on for ages with no coverage. I can't even watch it any more. It's so desperate. Thank goodness there is now some awareness and people are starting to give. Thanks to everyone who has supported.

GraceGrape Fri 16-Dec-16 12:47:42

Depressing that a thread about Cheryl Cole has at least 5 times as many posts as this one. Lack of awareness of the conflict in Yemen is holding back aid and public condemnation.

pinkmagic1 Fri 16-Dec-16 19:39:18

I was aware of the problems in Yemen but like previous posters have said, it gets very little media coverage. I am not sure why this is, maybe because of Syria etc. Overshadowing it?

GraceGrape Fri 16-Dec-16 19:44:27

Maybe because the conflict is perpetrated by Saudi Arabia, whose weapons are supplied by a lucrative deal with the UK. Although presumably it would still get covered in non-UK press. I don't know how it has been reported around the world.

Chaotica Fri 16-Dec-16 19:54:39

Thanks for highlighting this. I have been watching the situation get worse for a long while now, but only because I watch news on Al Jazeera where there are frequent reports.

spondoodle Fri 16-Dec-16 20:21:20

I heard about it from Tearfund too. It is all so heartbreaking. I can't imagine the horror of not being able to feed my baby or give her what she needs. These people are mums just like us.... I feel so helpless.

Whitecovers Fri 16-Dec-16 21:00:28

Have just donated, not much but all I can. Devastating.

PausingFlatly Sat 17-Dec-16 00:28:06

Oh Potatoes, you star. We'll sort out the Gift Aid this weekend.

Yes, I've seen BBC coverage of Yemen for a while. And have been surprised not to see more reaction.

1234hello Mon 19-Dec-16 07:41:01

Bump

Awwlookatmybabyspider Wed 21-Dec-16 18:11:20

Its completely beyond obsurd. That people are still dying of starvation in the 21st Century.

BeattieBowRisenFromTheDead Wed 21-Dec-16 19:25:49

I agree Awwlook. And I threw out half a bag of spinach today which had been forgotten at the bottom of the fridge and gone all slimy. I feel ashamed.

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