MIDDLE EAST

1.2M Yemeni children live in conflict zones: UNICEF

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Around 1.2 million Yemeni children live in conflict zones in war-battered Yemen, the UN children's agency UNICEF said Monday.

The children "continue to live in 31 active conflict zones including Al-Hudaydah, Taiz, Hajjah and Saada - in areas witnessing heavy, war-related violence," Geert Cappelaere UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement.

"Not enough has changed for children in Yemen since the Stockholm agreement on 13 December 2018," the official said.

On December 13, Yemeni peace talks held in Sweden concluded with a ceasefire deal in Al-Hudaydah between Houthis and the Yemeni government.

"Every day since, eight children have been killed or injured. Most of the children killed were playing outdoors with their friends or were on their way to or from school," Cappelaere said.

"Once again, UNICEF calls on all warring parties to put an end to violence in hotspots and across all of Yemen, protect civilians, keep children out of harm's way and allow humanitarian deliveries to children and their families wherever they are in the country," he said.

Yemen has been wracked by violence since 2014 when the Shia Houthi group overran much of the country. The crisis escalated in 2015 when the Saudi-led coalition launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.

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