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Here's What You Need To Know About The War That Kills One Child Every 11 Minutes

The Yemen civil war has been named one of the "greatest preventable disasters facing humanity" and it will have killed 140,000 children by the end of this year.

A new report from the United Nations (UN) has outlined the immense death toll that the Yemeni civil war has had -- with one child currently dying every 11 minutes due to the conflict.

According to the UN report, more than 233,000 deaths in total as a result of the four-year war are expected by the end of 2019.

More than half of those deaths are expected to be children under the age of five.

How Did The War Begin? 

The Yemen war is an ongoing conflict between the recognised Yemeni government and the Houthi movement, an armed Shia Islamic movement that originated in the Saada province of northern Yemen.

The instability in Yemen first began in 2011 when the presidency was handed to Abdrabbah Mansour Hadi -- he was quickly perceived by the masses as an incompetent and corrupt leader for failing to address widespread food insecurity or a growing separatist movement.

More than four percent of Yemen's children are severely malnourished. Image: AP

The rebel Houthi are backed by Iran and state that they are seeking greater autonomy for their religious minority group as well as a democratic Yemen state free from corruption.

Conflict between the Houthi and the Saudi-backed Hadi government has lead to a war that the UN describes as one of the "greatest preventable disasters facing humanity".

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READ MORE: US Bans Yemen Mother From Visiting Dying Baby Son

Why Is The Number Of Casualties So High? 

An International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) spokesperson from the Middle East told 10 Daily that the intensity and nature of the war is the reason so many people are dying.

Since 2015, Saudi Arabia and its allies have conducted more than 19,000 bomb strikes in the country.

When the Saudi bombing started, the expectation was that the Houthi uprising would be quashed within a matter of weeks.

Four years later, the violence shows no sign of slowing.

Yemeni children help carrying coffins of schoolchildren during a funeral in the capital Sanaa on April 10, 2019. IMAGE: Getty.

The ICRC spokesperson said the bombing in densely populated urban areas means that "civilians are close to the front lines" and casualties are high.

Famine in the war-stricken country has also been profound; following a Saudi offensive of the port city of Hodeidah, the number of deaths increased by 164 percent.

READ MORE: The Seven-Year-Old Girl Who Woke The World Up To The Crisis In Yemen

"Around 10 million Yemenis are on the brink of famine," the ICRC spokesperson said.

"The infrastructure in many areas is decimated, with unavailability of clean water, collapsed sanitation systems and electricity."

Children have been horrifically affected by starvation and disease. The ICRC spokesperson said that due to the displacement of many families, children are in great danger of being separated from their families and "having to fend for themselves".

More than 160,000 Yemenis have been displaced by the fighting between the Government and Houthi forces.

Infectious disease is rampant in the area, with the country experiencing the largest cholera outbreak in modern history. One million cases have been reported since 2016 -- 48,000 cases have been confirmed since January of this year.

Even if the civil war came to an end soon, the situation in Yemen will only continue to worsen, the ICRC spokesperson said.

"We are seeing that an already catastrophic situation only gets worse with 24 million people (80 percent of the population in Yemen) in need of humanitarian aid and 81 percent living below the poverty line," they said.

However, drawing on the current trends the UN report includes predictions about what will occur if the war drags out to 2030 -- a scenario in which a child will die every two minutes.

READ MORE: Arab States Launch Attack On Major Yemen Port

AL SADAQAH HOSPITAL, ADEN, YEMEN. DECEMBER 5 2018. Abrar, aged 12, weighed just 12.8 kg on admittance to the hospital on December 4, 2018 and is suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition. Source: Getty.
Why Are We Hearing So Little About The Conflict In Yemen? 

"Potentially, one of the reasons is the lack of presence of Western journalists in the country due to difficulty of access," the ICRC spokesperson said.

However, another possible reason that Western countries are relatively unexposed to stories about the horrific war is because of the allies backing the Saudi offensive.

Author and journalist, Matt Taibbi, wrote in Rolling Stone that the media may not be covering the story in great detail because the US "bears real responsibility for the crisis".

Children walk by bombed-out buildings on November 21, 2018 in Aden, south Yemen. Source: Getty.

Taibbi claims that "covering the story in detail would require digging into our [the US'] unsavory relationship with the Saudi government which has an atrocious human rights record."

Both the Houthi and Yemeni government forces have had a track record throughout the war of using weapons such as antipersonnel landmines and cluster munitions that violate international war treaties.

The ICRC representative said that in order to protect civilian lives, all parties need to respect International Humanitarian Law that ensures water, food, and healthcare facilities are no longer targeted in attacks.