Yousra Is Just One of Millions of Yemeni Children Suffering From War
Cancer has already cost Yousra the sight in her left eye and there are fears the disease is spreading. The malnourished eight-year-old is just one of millions of children suffering in the devastating human tragedy happening across Yemen. International pressure is growing to end the four-year war, which has now brought 14,000,000 people to the brink of famine.
However until the ceasefire, innocent children like Yousra Melkat will continue to suffer. More than half of the health centres in the war-stricken country lie empty, many destroyed by air strikes.
The Yemeni government hasn’t paid its civil servants for years and so most of the trained doctors have left. Yousra developed cancer three years ago when she was five years old but her family cannot afford treatment. She is cared for by her mother Hayat while her father earns less than 30p a day recycling plastic bottles.
Yousra received chemotherapy at a hospital in the capital of Sana’a. However doctors want her to travel abroad where scans can be done to see if the cancer has spread to her brain or other parts of the body.
Hayat Ali Melkat said: ‘We’ve been told there’s no cure for her here. ‘Before the war we could have found somebody to help but now, because most of the people are suffering, there’s no-one to help us.’ The International Rescue Committee want Yousra to head for treatment in Jordan but it is dependent on the Saudi’s giving them permission to travel out of Yemen.
They also need to raise money for her treatment and accommodation. Her case comes after the death of Amal Hussain – the starving little girl who became the face of the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis.
Marcus Skinner, senior policy advisor on Yemen at the IRC, told Metro.co.uk: ‘The war has had a devastating impact on Yemen’s children. ‘The world was shocked by pictures of Amal Hussain, but the horrific reality is that Amal represents a generation of children whose lives are being destroyed by the war. ‘Even those who can be saved by humanitarian aid face a difficult future.
Experts say there have been war crimes happening on both sides. Saudi Arabia has come under heavy criticism in recent months, with experts saying some 49% of air strikes have hit non-military targets.
Last week, the UN warned of an ‘imminent catastrophe’ saying 14,000,000 are at risk of starvation in the coming months half of the population.