The number of children killed or maimed during the Yemen civil war has exceeded 10,000, a UNICEF official said Tuesday.
"The Yemen conflict has just hit another shameful milestone: 10,000 children have been killed or maimed since fighting started in March 2015. That's the equivalent of four children every day," UNICEF spokesman James Elder said at a UN press briefing.
He told journalists in Geneva that these are the cases the UN was able to verify.
"Many more child deaths and injuries go unrecorded," said Elder, who returned from a mission the day before in which he visited both the north and south of Yemen.
"I met scores of children, many inspiring; all suffering. I met pediatricians, teachers, nurses – all shared personal stories that mirror those of their country: they are on the brink of total collapse."
Yemen's humanitarian crisis is the world's worst, said Elder, adding that it is violent and protracted, has caused economic devastation, shattered services for every support system such as health, nutrition, water and sanitation, protection, and education.
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In addition, Yemen is critically under-funded by UN response, said Elder.
11M children need assistance
"Four out of every five children need humanitarian assistance; that's more than 11 million children, and 400,000 children suffer from severe acute malnutrition," said the UNICEF spokesman.
He explained that more than two million children are out of school, and another four million are at risk of dropping out.
"Two-thirds of teachers – more than 170,000 – have not received a regular salary for more than four years," said Elder.
Yemen has been engulfed by violence and instability since 2014, when Iran-aligned Houthi rebels captured much of the country, including the capital Sanaa.
A Saudi-led coalition aimed at reinstating the Yemeni government has worsened the situation and caused one of the world's worst human-made humanitarian crises, with 233,000 people killed.
According to UN estimates, nearly 80% of people in Yemen, or about 30 million, need humanitarian assistance and protection, and more than 13 million are in danger of starvation.
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The Houthis have been in control of Sanaa and some regions since September 2014, while the coalition forces led by Saudi Arabia have been supporting the Yemeni government against the Houthis since March 2015.