In his Lenten message for 2018, Pope Francis reminded the world and especially Catholics not to forget that in various parts of the world, many people, especially children, feel the daily pangs of hunger. Recently, during the bridge of peace organised by Aid to the Church in Need at the Polish Embassy in Rome, Apostolic Nuncio in Syria, Cardinal Mario Zenari with a strong voice emphasized, “let us not forget the 85,000 children of Yemen under 5-years of age who died during the past three years of ongoing conflict and from hunger and malnutrition”.

Save the Children’s Yemen Country Director Tamer Kirolos on December 6, 2018, issued comments on the current hunger situation for children in Yemen: “Whether or not we call the hunger crisis in Yemen a famine is irrelevant to the millions of children going hungry every day and to their parents who struggle to put food on the table.”

“The new food insecurity survey released today shows that the hunger crisis in Yemen has been getting worse over the past year with an estimated 120,000 children now classed as living in ‘catastrophic’ conditions.” This means that even with humanitarian aid they have not been meeting their daily food needs for some time, with evidence of starvation, death, and destitution. Millions of more children could fall into this category unless they receive urgent help.

“There is nothing worse than watching a child die of starvation while food is prevented from entering the country and violence hinders its distribution. Even where food is available, many people simply can’t afford it. Malnourished children are succumbing to preventable diseases because life-saving medicines are delayed at ports and checkpoints.”

In Yemen, there are only between 3,000 and 25,000 Catholics and four parishes in the country, which forms part of the Roman Catholic Vicariate Apostolic of Southern Arabia which also includes several other countries in the Arabian peninsula. Most Catholics are refugees or temporary foreign workers living in the country with their families.

As we feast and celebrate with our loved ones this Christmas, let us not forget these children who need urgent help as they are dying daily for lack of good food, water and medicine.

Your kind and generous support no matter how little will go a long way to save the lives of these children.

ACN Malta