Yahya during his last visit to RI's MMT.
Yemen’s ongoing conflict recently reached a new and tragic milestone: its third anniversary. As war rages on, nearly 22 million Yemenis—three quarters of the country’s population—are left without food, clean drinking water or healthcare. And the situation grows worse each day. RI teams are on the ground inside Yemen, delivering critical assistance to the country’s most vulnerable—its children.
In a country overcome by malnutrition, more than 462,000 children are battling for their lives. These numbers continue to climb. Stationed on the frontlines of the fight against hunger, RI teams are working around the clock to treat severe and acute cases of childhood malnutrition. Our staff work to restore the health of young Yemenis with programs that include malnutrition screenings, monitored feeding, nutritional assistance and referrals. Many Yemenis, including Muhammad* and his four-year-old son Yahya* pictured here, rely on these services to survive.
Muhammad recently trekked for an hour over rocky, mountainous roads carrying Yahya in his arms. “He is very weak and cannot even walk anymore,” Muhammad told RI staff when he arrived at the staging area of our mobile medical clinics that day. “He’s lost so much weight.” Muhammad had seen other children in his village die from malnutrition and feared that the same fate awaited Yahya.
RI mobile medical teams move from village to village each day, crossing dangerous terrain to reach families living in the remote reaches of Yemen. RI’s trained community health workers go door-to-door conducting malnutrition screenings and informing parents about RI services and how to access them. This is how Muhammad learned about the opportunity to save Yahya’s life.
When RI staff first examined Yahya, his Mid-Upper Arm Circumference— called MUAC, the defining diagnostic for childhood malnutrition— measured only 8.5 centimeters; a well-nourished child would have a MUAC over 13.5 centimeters. The nurse on the scene explained to Muhammad that Yahya was severely malnourished and that without treatment he would likely die in the coming weeks. RI’s nutrition team provided Muhammad with 15 sachets of a nutritional supplement and instructed him to give Yahya two per day and return to the mobile clinic the following week.
This is Yahya today. His Mid-Upper Arm Circumference has grown almost two whole centimeters to nearly 10.5 centimeters. His father says he is visibly happier and more active. “He is starting to get better,” Muhammad said, noting that his son is able to walk again.
Your generous support allows RI to provide families like Muhammad’s the care and resources they need to survive. And your generosity goes beyond survival: it lets families like Muhammad’s know that someone—someone they’ve never met—cares about them.
*Names of beneficiaries have been changed to protect their identities.
Yahya and Muhammad at his son's last check up.