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U.N. Officials Warn Yemen Facing Humanitarian, Health Disasters

High-level officials from UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP) this week warned that “[r]outine immunization of children has dropped by 40 percent in some areas of Yemen, leading to outbreaks of polio and measles and reflecting a growing collapse of public services in a country that is on the brink of a humanitarian disaster,” IRIN reports. Earlier this month, U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos cited “conflict, poverty, drought, soaring food prices and collapsing state services” as reasons for widespread suffering of millions of people in the country, according to IRIN. 

“Yemen has the world’s second highest rate of chronic malnutrition, after Afghanistan, and about half the population live in deep poverty. More than half the children under five years of age suffer from chronic malnutrition,” and in some regions the global acute malnutrition (GAM) prevalence exceeds the emergency threshold, the news service writes. “Both WFP and UNICEF officials stressed that the road to recovery will be slow and arduous,” IRIN notes (10/25).