A six-year conflict in Yemen has had a devastating impact on children there, pushing some of them to the brink of depression, a UK-based rights group has said.
A survey conducted by Save the Children found that one in five of children in Yemen feel afraid.
Overall, 52% children interviewed by the group reported never feeling safe when they are apart from their parents and 56% said they do not feel safe when walking alone.
The survey, which included more than 1,250 children, parents and adult caregivers, found that 38% of caregivers reported an increase in children’s nightmares and 8% reported an increase in bedwetting of their child.
According to the poll, 18% of children reported they always feel grief, 51% sometimes feel this way and 16% say they are never or rarely able to relax.
The survey also found that 16% of children say they are never or rarely able to relax and 36% reported never feeling like they could talk to someone in the community if they are sad or upset.
"The children we spoke to are terrified. They are too scared to play outside. They are bedwetting when they hear airplanes flying overhead or bombs falling. This is what 5 years of war does to the mental wellbeing of children, and we cannot allow this war on children to continue," Inger Ashing, CEO of Save the Children International, said in a statement.
“With Covid-19 now a worldwide epidemic, the potentially devastating threat of a coronavirus outbreak in Yemen makes urgent action to pressure parties to end the war more important than ever."
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As the global death toll from coronavirus is nearly 19,000, Yemen has not recorded any infection from the disease.
Yemen has been beset by violence and chaos since 2014, when the Iran-backed Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital Sanaa.
The crisis escalated in 2015 when a Saudi-led military coalition launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi territorial gains.
According to Save the Children, some 10.3 million children in Yemen are food insecure, including 2.1 million who are acutely malnourished, and two million children are displaced.
The Health Cluster, which is formed of several international organizations and UN agencies, estimates that almost 1.2 million children fell sick with cholera, diphtheria or dengue fever over the last three years.