UN to close majority of health facilities in Yemen

Published 06.09.2019 00:18

The U.N.'s family planning agency announced Wednesday that it will close 175 health facilities in war-torn Yemen this month due to lack of funding.

In a statement on its official Twitter account, the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) said it is forced to close 175 of 268 health facilities in Yemen which provide reproductive health services, adding that it would pose "a direct threat to more than a million pregnant and lactating women who needed immediate treatment for acute malnutrition and medical assistance."

In the country profoundly affected by a humanitarian crisis, one out of every 260 women dies during pregnancy and childbirth, and one out of 37 newborns die in their first month of life, UNICEF said in June, revealing the lack of routine primary health care services, crucial for supporting mothers and childbirth.

Yemeni civilians have also suffered from acute malnutrition, starvation and cholera epidemics since Yemen's civil war began in earnest with the launch of the Saudi-led intervention.

For several weeks at the end of 2017, the Saudi coalition imposed a blockade on Yemeni ports that it said was to prevent Houthis from importing weapons. This had a severe impact on Yemen, which traditionally imports 90% of its food.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is the former Saudi defense minister and Saudi Arabia's allies launched Operation Decisive Storm in March 2015. The ongoing war has resulted in the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, with an estimated 24 million people, close to 80% of the population, in need of assistance and protection in Yemen, according to the U.N.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says some 10,000 people have been killed since the coalition intervened in 2015, but rights groups say the death toll could be five times higher.

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