The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned that the ongoing Saudi aggression against impoverished Yemen may deprive a whole generation of children of education this year, cautioning that the consequences of the growing economic plight in Yemen would likely put these children at greater risk of being married off or recruited as child soldiers.
UNICEF Representative in Yemen Mertixell Relano sounded the grim warning at a press conference in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, adding that during the past seven months, more than three-quarters of Yemeni teachers had not received their salaries, which may in turn leave up to 4.5 million children incapable of finishing the school year.
“At the moment, we have more than 166,000 teachers in the country that have not received a salary since October last year. This is more or less 73 percent of the total number of teachers in the country,” she said.
If the affected teachers do not receive their paychecks immediately, these children would be at risk of losing the current school year, and consequently the out-of-school boys would be at risk of “being recruited (for military service), or the girls might be at risk of being married earlier,” Relano further said.
The economic crisis largely began last year, when former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a staunch ally of Saudi Arabia, who has occupied Yemen’s southwestern port city of Aden with the help of Riyadh, his loyalists and militia, moved the country’s central bank from Sana’a to Aden. The current Saudi military campaign has aggravated economic and humanitarian issues in Yemen.