7-year-old girl whose haunting picture put spotlight on Yemen famine dies: NYT
Last week, the Times published a picture of an emaciated Amal Hussain lying in a mobile clinic in northern Yemen. The little girl was being treated for acute malnutrition.
Amal became a symbol of Yemen’s humanitarian crisis, where 1.8 million children are starving due to a nearly four-year-old civil war. The humanitarian crisis in Yemen is one of the worst in the world.
Doctors and nurses tried to save Amal, feeding her milk every two hours, but she was vomiting regularly and suffered from diarrhea, the Times reported.
Despite the effort to save her, Amal died on Oct. 26 at a refugee camp, three days after she was discharged from the hospital, her family told the Times.
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“My heart is broken,” Mariam Ali, the girl’s mother, told the media outlet. “Amal was always smiling. Now I’m worried for my other children.”
Yemen has been going through a humanitarian disaster since 2015 when the U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition waged a relentless campaign of airstrikes and imposed a blockade, aiming to uproot Shiite rebels known as Houthis, who took over northern and central Yemen.
Amal and her family were among the millions who had to flee their homes after the Saudi airstrikes.
At least eight million Yemenis currently have no food (other than what aid agencies provide), according to humanitarian officials. The UN warned the number could soon jump to 14 million, which is half of Yemen’s population.
“There is now a clear and present danger of an imminent famine engulfing Yemen: much bigger than anything any professional in this field has encountered during their working lives,” UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock said.
According to the Associated Press, some families are surviving on mouldy bread crumbs mixed with water and salt, or paste made of boiled leaves from a vine called “halas.”
The looming famine is also putting more than a million mothers at risk of death, the UN said.
The lack of food, displacement, poor nutrition, disease outbreaks and eroding health care have dramatically affected the health and well-being of 1.1 million malnourished women who are pregnant or are breastfeeding their newborns.
To avert catastrophe, the UN is calling on all stakeholders to urgently support a humanitarian ceasefire in and around all importation infrastructure and to do everything possible to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance as required under international law.
On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for a ceasefire in Yemen within the next 30 days.
— With files from the Associated Press
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