One day after President Trump backed the Saudi crown prince over accusations that he may have ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a leading charity has issued a blistering report that poses more uncomfortable questions over Saudi practices.
More than 85,000 children may have died of hunger since Saudi Arabia intervened in the war in Yemen three years ago, according to Save the Children, an international NGO.
“For every child killed by bombs and bullets, dozens are starving to death and it’s entirely preventable,” said Tamer Kirolos, Save the Children’s country director in Yemen.
With only a few hospitals still operational, the nongovernmental organization says that the human toll of the conflict cannot be fully captured by simply relying on official numbers.
Instead, the charity used historical mortality rates and United Nations data on Yemeni malnutrition to estimate that more than 25,000, or 20 to 30 percent of all acutely malnourished children, have died every year since April 2015. The estimates, the NGO said, may still be lower than the actual number of deaths.
“Children who die in this way suffer immensely as their vital organ functions slow down and eventually stop. Their immune systems are so weak they are more prone to infections, with some too frail to even cry,” said Save the Children representative Kirolos.
“Parents are having to witness their children wasting away, unable to do anything about it,” he said.
According to the United Nations, half the Yemeni population suffers from famine.