No Place is Safe in Yemen: The impact of seven years of conflict on children in Yemen

Up to 60% of children in Yemen know someone who has been injured in the country’s seven-year conflict, with one quarter of children saying a family member had been hurt, according to a new report No Place is Safe released today by Save the Children.

As Yemen marks its seventh year of conflict, the report – which included a survey of 400 children from eight of Yemen’s 21 governates – is a stark reminder that children and families are paying the heaviest price for this brutal war.

The research also revealed that nearly 80% of children were constantly worried about their safety and that of family and friends, with a majority saying it took them a long time to process any kind of shock or stress. Over 70% of the children reported having their school attacked at least once, and nearly half reported that their local health facility had been attacked during the way.

Isaac* is a 14-year-old boy from south west Yemen, who was shot by a sniper while playing football at school. Isaac said:

“I assumed the sniper would spare me when he saw I was only picking up the ball. He doesn’t usually shoot at us, he rarely does, but he did this time. He shot my leg.”

“Incidents like this makes me and my friends feel unsafe at school. It’s not only the snipers, but the airstrikes and bombardment as well. The school is definitely not safe anymore”

Rama Hansraj, Save the Children’s Country Director in Yemen,said:

“For the past seven years, we’ve seen how an unforgiving man-made conflict has left children paying a price that extends beyond hunger and illness. Children have been attacked while playing football, behind their desks in schools, on their beds in hospitals, at their homes, and in the marketplace. They are being killed by the thousands, maimed, displaced, and traumatised to the extent most of them now live with constant fear and anxiety.

“In a place where schoolyards are in firing line of snipers, and playgrounds are turned into graveyards, children are slowly withdrawing from the public sphere and are unable to play outside and interact with their peers. This is undermining their ability to develop their personalities and is cutting them off from primary mechanism to cope with stress. This is simply no place for a child to be, and perhaps not even for an adult.”

“This protracted fighting in Yemen is turning the country to a hell on earth for children, and what makes it even worse is the fact that for the past seven years, the world has chosen to turn a blind eye and look the other way. This must change and the international community must come together and put an end to this unnecessary suffering, once and for all.”

The new report by Save the Children explores the impact of seven years of conflict on children, and reveals that families are losing resilience, with around half of children across the country are struggling to process their mental distress.

Save the Children has been working in Yemen since 1963, implementing programmes in education, child protection, health and nutrition, water and sanitation, and emergency response across most of the country.

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