Yemen doctors despair as babies starve in orphaned province

September 28, 2018 | By | Reply More

At Nasr Hospital’s emergency room in the Yemeni city of Daleh, a little boy struggles to breathe. He is too tired, or too hungry, to cry.

yemenBorn with a degenerative neurological disease, his muscles have atrophied to nothing, his tiny joints visible through his pale skin, his stomach distended.

The child’s body cannot retain even water, so nurses have resorted to putting him in diapers.

And doctors say there is nothing they can do.

The boy is one of an estimated five million Yemeni children who may not see their next birthday in a war the UN children’s fund has described as a “living hell” for minors.

The UN has warned that international aid agencies are losing the fight against famine in Yemen, where 3.5 million people may soon be added to the eight million Yemenis already facing starvation — more than half of them children.

Mahmud Ali Hassan, director of Nasr Hospital, does not mince words. Life for his patients, he says, is “pure misery”.

“We need help. We need real help.”

South of rebel-held Sanaa and north of the government bastion of Aden, Daleh is, in the words of its residents, a forgotten city.

– ‘Desperate need’ –

The war between Yemen’s government, backed by a Saudi-led regional military coalition, and Huthi rebels linked to Iran has left an estimated 10,000 dead since 2015 and triggered what the UN calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Another 2,200 have died of cholera, according to the World Health Organization, nearly one-third of them under the age of five.

In government-held Daleh, medics at Nasr Hospital are desperately looking for ways to treat patients — most of whom have not yet learned to read, tie their shoelaces or even walk — as supplies dwindle and hunger spreads.

A sign outside Nasr Hospital reads “funded by the World Health Organization”. The hospital is a lifeline for three provinces with a combined population of more than 1.5 million.

“We take cases from Daleh as well as Ibb and Lahaj,” said Hassan.

“Most cases we receive are malnourished children. We get three to four cases a day. The ward is always full. It’s full right now.”

In a lime green onesie, another malnourished baby wails as doctors hook him up to a nasal cannula — the tube used to deliver oxygen to patients in respiratory distress.

Press journalist for HRO media – Ignacio Damigo reports.


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Category: International

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