SANA'A, The Women and child, they are the ones most likely to be displaced, deprived and abused.

Yemen's four-year US-Saudi aggression has produced the world's worst humanitarian disaster, causing killed at least 10,000 people and pushed 14 million more to the brink of famine.

Often overlooked in Yemen's wartime narrative are women and children. Yet they are the ones most likely to be displaced, deprived and abused.

More women are being widowed by the war each day, left without the education or skills to support their families. Rape and domestic violence are increasing. Girls are being pulled out of school to be married off for dowry money. Children are falling sick from diseases that were long-ago eradicated elsewhere in the world, and pregnant women and newborn babies are succumbing to starvation.

Girls are also more vulnerable to abuse during wartime. There has been a 63 percent increase in incidents of gender-based violence, including rape and sexual assault, domestic violence and forced marriage, since the conflict began, the United Nations says.

In Yemen's traditionally patriarchal society, men work outside the home and women care for the home and children. But because of the war, aid agencies report that the number of female-headed households has dramatically increased. Many Yemeni women must provide for their families without the skills or education needed to earn money.

According to the U.N., 400,000 children are expected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition, the deadliest form of extreme hunger this year, an increase of 15,000 over 2017.

"We are horrified that 85,000 children in Yemen may have died because of extreme hunger since the war began," said Tamer Kirolos, country director in Yemen for the non-profit aid organization, Save the Children. "For every child killed by air stricks , dozens are starving to death and it's entirely preventable."

The statement said that 85,000 was a conservative estimate of how many children under the age of 5 had starved between April 2015, when Saudi Arabia began its air war.

In addition to the airstrikes, Saudi Arabia has imposed economic sanctions and blockades on Yemen, contributing to the deepening humanitarian crisis.

Aid agencies report that an average of five children per day have been killed since the start of the war. Millions of Yemeni children have suffered trauma from the conflict. And because of the collapse of the country's health-care system, psychosocial support and mental health care are essentially unavailable.

The United Nations says many of these children will carry heavy emotional burdens into their adulthood with far-reaching consequences.

The U.N. children's agency paints an equally bleak picture: "Right now in Yemen, there are 400,000 children under the age of 5 who are severely malnourished. They could die any day," Juliette Touma, the chief of communication for the Middle East and North Africa told CBS News.

Just two year ago, the Saudi-led coalition closed off all access to the country, effectively sealing Yemen off from the outside world. War, blockades and bureaucracy slow aid to the starving.

With great expectations, the U.K. introduced a draft resolution at the U.N. hoping to forge a ceasefire agreement, open all the ports, and infuse much-needed cash into Yemen. With an estimated 14 million civilians at risk of starvation caused by a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia, the Saudis and their partners, with Kuwait in the lead on the Security Council, have delayed a British plan for a truce.

Meanwhile, international criticism of the Saudis' handling of the offensive in Yemen has increased along with the civilian death toll from the war.

Beasley told CBS News: "What Yemen needs most is an end to the conflict. It also desperately needs a strong humanitarian response coupled with major economic assistance."

Children are dying, as I saw just in front of my own eyes. As humanitarians, we need unimpeded access to deliver life-saving food to the children, women and men who need it the most," Beasley said.

"I will leave the issue of how to work out the [U.N.] resolution to the political leaders, World Food Program chief said, "I am certain a quick path to peace, coupled with major humanitarian and economic aid, would be the best thing possible for Yemen and its children."

"This is one of those issues where the U.N. could have a truly significant impact," a Security Council diplomat told CBS News, "but very intense political gridlock is winning the day."

As the death toll from the military operation worsens, rebuilding the economy has emerged as a priority to prevent widespread famine.

The aid organization Save the Children said the number was a conservative estimate of those under age 5 who may have died.

According to Stephen L. Anderson, country director for the World Food Program in Yemen, 8.4 million people are considered to be severely food insecure, one step from famine.

The announcement by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis at the Pentagon came on the heels of a statement by the aid agency Save the Children on Wednesday that underscored the harrowing nature of the conflict: An estimated 85,000 children might have died of hunger since the bombings began in 2015.

For every child killed by bombs and bullets, dozens are starving to death � and it's entirely preventable, Tamer Kirolos, Save the Children's country director in Yemen, said in the statement. Children who die in this way suffer immensely as their vital organ functions slow down and eventually stop.

David Beasley, the managing director of the World Food Program, visited Yemen and painted a dire portrait of the situation.

What I have seen in Yemen this week is the stuff of nightmares, of horror, of deprivation, of misery. And we � all of humanity � have only ourselves to blame, Mr. Beasley told the United Nations Security Council .

Since the spring, the price of basic food staples has doubled, Mr. Beasley added. For a country that's dependent on imports for the basic needs of life, this is disaster, he said.

The U.N. children's agency's Juliette Touma said they are pleading with all parties "to put an end to the war on children in Yemen."

Experts say Yemen has become the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, and 14 million people could soon be on the brink of starvation, according to the United Nations.

Source: Yemen News Agency

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