Three years on, a message from the children of Yemen

By agency reporter
March 27, 2018

Three years after the war in Yemen began, Save the Children has released the following message from Yemeni children.

“We, the children of Yemen, are struggling to survive. We go to sleep to the sound of warplanes overhead and guns in the street. We wake up to more destruction.

“We are innocent, play no part in this war, and have committed no sins.

“And yet, we are missing out on an education as our schools are being destroyed. We are being denied our most basic rights of health, safety, and life. The longer the war continues, the more children will die.

“Disease will continue to spread, whilst health centres lack the medical supplies and vaccines needed to tackle them.

“We could be forced to work just to be able to eat. We are sad for our country, our families and our friends.

“And to the world, to all the big decision makers, we ask you to think of us before you wage a war.

We want the world to do five things for us:

  1. Help stop the war and protect children’s rights.
  2. Investigate and monitor grave violations against children.
  3. Make sure children can still access education and ensure that damaged schools are rehabilitated.
  4. Restock health centres with medical supplies and rehabilitate hospitals so they can treat the sick and injured.
  5. Provide shelter and emotional support for children who have lost everything. 

Save the Children’s Yemen Country Director Tamer Kirolos said, “For the last three years, Yemeni children have been bombed and starved with utter impunity. Thousands have died in their homes or in hospitals as they waited in vain for medicines or lifesaving equipment to reach them. Tens of thousands more could die this year alone if urgent action is not taken to end the violence.

“Children who once felt they had a future, have seen their cities and their dreams turned to rubble. Half of all hospitals have now been damaged or destroyed, hundreds of schools have been levelled or attacked, and four million children are on the brink of famine.

“The saddest thing is that all of this suffering is completely man-made. All we need is political will from all the warring parties to end the bloodshed, to fully relax the blockade so that humanitarian and commercial supplies can enter the country. Without this, the fourth year of Yemen’s war will likely be its deadliest yet.”

Key fact three years on: 

  • The total number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in Yemen is 22.2 million – or 76 per cent of the population - including 11.3 million children.
  • Since the beginning of the conflict, there  have been more than 15,000 airstrikes.
  • More than 5,000 children have been killed or injured in the violence – an average of five children every day since March 2015.
  • Some children as young as 10 have been recruited to fight by parties to the conflict, according to the latest UN figures on the conflict, and 1,698 children affected by grave child rights violations since October 2016 across Yemen, in addition to the children killed.
  • Human rights violations and abuses continue unabated, with at least 8,700 civilians killed and 50,000 injuredin what the UN describes as an “entirely manmade catastrophe”.
  • All sides have been responsible for abuses and grave violations against children
  • 606 cases of recruitment and use of children by parties of the conflict since October 2016
  • 1.9 million children are out of school, depriving them of an education and exposing them to the risk of child recruitment into armed groups and armed forces, or early marriage

* Save the Children


Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.