An estimated 85,000 children under five may have died from extreme hunger in Yemen since a Saudi-led coalition intervened in the civil war in 2015, Save the Children said on Wednesday.
It said that according to a conservative estimate based on U.N. data, approximately 84,700 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition may have died between April 2015 and October 2018 in the impoverished country, where a Western-backed Arab alliance is battling the Houthi movement that holds the capital.
“We are horrified that some 85,000 children in Yemen may have died because of the consequences of extreme hunger since the war began. For every child killed by bombs and bullets, dozens are dying from hunger and disease and it’s entirely preventable,” it said in a statement.
The UN warned last month that up to 14m Yemenis are on the brink of famine.
It is trying to revive talks to end a three-year war which has caused the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
Yemen has been devastated by the conflict. Fighting escalated in 2015 when a Saudi-led coalition launched an air campaign against the Houthi rebel movement which had forced President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi to flee abroad.
At least 6,800 civilians have been killed and 10,700 injured in the war, according to the UN. The fighting and a partial blockade by the coalition have also left 22 million people in need of humanitarian aid, created the world’s largest food security emergency, and led to a cholera outbreak that has affected 1.2 million people.
The last available figure from the United Nations for the death toll from the war was in 2016 and stood at more than 10,000.