This article was originally published by UN News Centre and is republished with permission.
21 December 2017 – A plane charted by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) landed in Sana’a, Yemen, on Thursday, delivering nearly 6 million doses of essential vaccines to protect millions of children at risk of preventable diseases, including the current diphtheria outbreak that has reportedly infected over 300 people and killed 35.
“Vaccinating children in Yemen now is critical to protect them from preventable diseases and death. It is vital that vaccines and other lifesaving supplies for children continue to flow into Yemen and across the country unimpeded. They are a lifeline for millions of children,” said Meritxell Relaño, UNICEF Representative in Yemen.
Most diphtheria cases and deaths are among children.
Since 2015, the southern Arabian nation has been in a conflict between forces loyal to President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and those allied to the Houthi rebel movement.
The country is in the grips of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with restrictions on fuel and food imports further complicating emergency response.
The restrictions add to the misery of children in Yemen who already face the triple threat of diseases, malnutrition and violence.
UNICEF reiterates its call on all parties to allow unhindered humanitarian access to all of Yemen’s land, sea and air ports and to facilitate the distribution of lifesaving assistance for children inside the country.