Yemen: Child labour on rise as war-torn country struggles under COVID-19 strain

More families are turning to child labour as millions of people are living on the brink of starvation in Yemen. Coronavirus has seen the slowing of international aid, resulting in families, who are dependent on relief, turning to desperate measures. At the start of the summer, the UN reported that the healthcare system has practically collapsed, leaving millions in a vulnerable position, as the pandemic grips the world. Children selling bottled water and repairing cars on the streets could be seen in footage from Saturday in the city of Taiz, currently under the control of the Saudi-led coalition. A lack of job opportunities, as well as heavy bombing and destruction has affected many schools, and lead to the deprivation of school and education for many Yemeni children. Nour Eddine al-Mansouri an activist said children have been hit hardest by the war in Yemen, «particularly in Taiz. Children who survived the direct effects of war such as sniping or indiscriminate bombing, can never survive the suffering of work. You can easily notice that most families in Taiz do not rely on jobs in government entities, even before the war. Around 70 percent of those families rely on freelance jobs at the marketplace.» One of the children working from a young age is Zaher, who was forced into labour to support his family after he said his father fell sick. «We do not have anything to eat. Sometimes we receive some food materials from organisations or beneficiaries. We live in a small place inside a mosque. The rent costs 15,000 Yemeni Riyal (€50; $60) per month. But I cannot pay this rent,» he added. The 5-year-conflict in Yemen has caused the displacement of millions and killed over 100,000 people, triggering the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, according to the UN. According to the UN statistics, around 152 million children worldwide are being forced to work daily.

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