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News Outlets Examine Conditions Of Refugees In Yemen, Malnutrition, Cholera Risks

Reuters reports that as a new camp capable of hosting 10,000 to 12,000 refugees in Yemen will open in a few weeks, “[m]alnutrition and the risk of a cholera outbreak are threatening lives at Yemen’s main camp [Masrak] for people fleeing fighting in the north.” According to Thomas Davin, regional UNICEF chief, “Hygiene is terrible, really, really terrible.” The news service writes, “Few of the displaced are used to washing regularly because water is scarce in Yemen and few use toilets, preferring to leave waste in the open.”

Some “parents have given foods meant for treating malnourished children to their animals, which they view as part of the family and take with them when they flee,” Reuters reports. “People say ‘if we lose the sheep it’s not the child that dies, it’s the whole family,” Davin said (Dmitracova, 11/23).

The Guardian also examines the ongoing conflict in Yemen, “a tribal society, the poorest in the Middle East and as complicated to rule as Afghanistan, where clan elders and the armed men they command often trump the authority of central government.”

With an estimated 250 Yemeni children dying each day from malnutrition and the number of families driven to refugee camps growing, UNICEF “recently launched a special feeding centre in Mazrak for severely malnourished children and along with the World Food Programme has been distributing food rations and sachets of Plumpy’nut, a food used in famine relief,” the Guardian reports. “Malnutrition is the silent emergency in Yemen, but no one is talking about it,” said Naseem ur Rahman, a UNICEF spokesman.

The article also examines efforts to provide water to the Mazrak camp and further information on the “long-running conflict” (Macleod, 11/24).

The Sanaa/Gulf Times reports on malnutrition and stunted growth in Yemen and the rest of the region, based on a recent UNICEF report (Klinger, 11/23).