Executive Summary: 8 years of war, together with decades of historical conflict in Yemen, have left a deadly legacy of explosive ordnance (EO), including landmines, across the country – threatening children’s lives, their childhoods, and their futures. For many, the effects of blasts are immediate, long-term and life-limiting. Over 11,000 Yemeni children have been killed or maimed since the beginning of the conflict. This research brief highlights the impacts of EO for children, their unique vulnerabilities, and what must be done to better protect them from harm. Save the Children’s analysis reveals an alarming rise in child casualties caused by EO, including landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO), in Yemen between January 2018 and November 2022. The findings – found here – rely on original analysis of data collected by the Civilian Impact Monitoring Project (CIMP)v and surveys conducted with 13 children (nine girls and four boys) from Taiz in January 2023, who had directly experienced EO incidents.
A recent report by Save the Children unveils the harrowing reality faced by children in Yemen, where eight years of ongoing conflict have left a deadly legacy of explosive ordnance (EO), including landmines. More than 11,000 Yemeni children have been killed or maimed since the war began, with countless others suffering from the loss of friends, family members, and access to education. The physical and mental well-being of these children has been severely impacted.
Save the Children’s analysis reveals a troubling increase in child casualties caused by EO, including landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO), between January 2018 and November 2022, as well as the devastating short and long-term impacts:
- The frequency of child casualties due to landmines and UXO increased from one every five days in 2018 to one every two days in 2022.
- Children are disproportionately affected compared to adults, with EO accounting for one in five overall child casualties.
- More than half of all child casualties in 2022 were due to landmines and UXO.
- Over 50% of all landmines and UXO child casualties occurred in just three governorates: Hodeidah, Taiz, and Sa’ada.
- During the truce, the proportion of child injuries and deaths from landmines and UXO increased, accounting for two-thirds of all child casualties from April-October 2022.
The psychosocial impact on child victims is also significant, with many experiencing trouble sleeping, and living in constant fear and
anxiety. The loss of friends, parents, and caregivers, along with interrupted education, has had far-reaching consequences for their health, learning, and overall well-being.
Save the Children’s report emphasizes the need for urgent action from various stakeholders, including the United Nations (UN), donors, humanitarian organizations, researchers, civil society organizations, and national authorities. To better address the needs of children in Yemen and support recovery efforts, the following recommendations have been proposed:
- Increase funding and support for mine clearance operations and risk education programs to reduce the threat of EO to children and communities.
- Improve access to healthcare, rehabilitation services, and psychosocial support for child victims of EO.
- Enhance the collection of data on the scale and impact of EO contamination in Yemen to better inform clearance efforts and victim assistance programs.
- Prioritize the inclusion of child-specific provisions in peace negotiations and ceasefire agreements.
- Strengthen national and international legal frameworks and hold accountable those responsible for using indiscriminate and prohibited weapons, such as landmines.
The deadly legacy of explosive ordnance in Yemen poses a dire threat to the lives and futures of the country’s children. Save the Children’s report highlights the urgent need for concerted efforts from the international community, humanitarian organizations, and national authorities to address this crisis. By focusing on mine clearance, risk education, healthcare, rehabilitation services, and psychosocial support, as well as enhancing legal frameworks and accountability, it is possible to make a tangible difference in the lives of Yemen’s most vulnerable citizens. Only through a collective and coordinated approach can we ensure a safer and more hopeful future for the children of Yemen.
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