Yemeni children line up to be inoculated against schistosomiasis on the outskirts of Sanaa, Yemen, on Dec. 16, 2019. (Photo by Mohammed Mohammed/Xinhua/IANS)

Amid a “huge” drop in humanitarian aid funding for Yemen, the UN children’s agency warned Friday that the situation may push millions of children across the war-torn country, to the brink of starvation.

The stark prediction comes in a new UNICEF report, “Yemen five years on: Children, conflict and COVID-19.” It said the number of malnourished Yemeni children could reach 2.4 million by the end of the year, a 20 percent increase in the current figure, reports Arab News.

“As Yemen’s devastated health system and infrastructure struggle to cope with coronavirus, the already dire situation for children is likely to deteriorate considerably,” warned UNICEF.

The situation in Yemen is only expected to get worse as donor countries recently cut back on aid. Yemen has officially recorded more than 1,000 cases of COVID-19 cases, including 275 deaths. However, the actual tally is believed to be much higher as testing capabilities are severely limited.

“If we do not receive urgent funding, children will be pushed to the brink of starvation and many will die,” said Sara Beysolow Nyanti, UNICEF’s representative to Yemen.

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