Yemenis face ‘life & death choice’ of treating sick children or feeding healthy ones

– UNICEF to RT

Yemenis face ‘life & death choice’ of treating sick children or feeding healthy ones – UNICEF to RT
As the battle in Yemen rages on, many parents are faced with the tough choice of treating a sick child or feeding a healthy one, a UNICEF representative told RT, following the tragic death of a seven-year-old who died of disease and malnutrition.

Children are paying an extremely high price in war-torn Yemen, with 90 percent in desperate need of humanitarian care, according to UNICEF. Almost half a million are at risk of starvation.

One of the latest tragedies to come out of the country is the death of seven-year-old Jamila Ali Abdu, who died of malnutrition after suffering from worms for two years.

WARNING: You may find some of the footage disturbing

“Every time we went to a hospital they told us she had worms and bacteria. We couldn’t get anywhere and we are poor people and can’t go to Sanaa or anywhere else,” Jamila’s father, Ali Abdu, told AP.

Heartbreaking footage showed the skeletal Jamila’s final moments in a hospital bed, with her father at her side.

“She was very sick and I tried to get her treated at the hospitals and nothing helped, and as soon as we had any amount of money I would spend it to get her treatment. We sold the furniture and we sold the sheep and everything else. I wanted a healthy life for Jamila but we weren’t able to obtain it,” said Amal Ibrahim, Jamila’s grieving mother.

Dr. Awsan al-Aariqi, who was part of the team attempting to treat Jamila, said medical personnel did everything they could.

“The main cause of malnutrition for this child is that she’s been suffering from diarrhea for about two or three years, without any sort of diagnosis…we started treating her according to the protocol for treating malnourished children, but for this child, unfortunately, there was no response to the treatment,” he said.

Jamila’s story is far from unique, however. In fact, at least one child dies every 10 minutes due to preventable diseases such as diarrhea, malnutrition, and respiratory tract infections, according to the agency.

“We have seen many tragedies like Jamila’s every day. We know currently almost 7 million Yemenis are facing severe food insecurity, which means they don’t know where their next meal will come from,” Sherin Varkey, UNICEF’s deputy representative to Yemen, told RT.

He went on to state that families are making “life and death choices” such as deciding whether to invest in treating a sick child or feeding their healthy children.

“The situation is getting worse and time is running out for the children in Yemen,” Varkey said.

In addition to hunger, malnutrition and disease, innocent Yemenis are falling victim to the ongoing violence in the country, with the Saudi-led coalition being blamed for civilian deaths due to airstrikes. However, the coalition has refuted claims that it has targeted innocent people.

More than 10,000 people are estimated to have been killed since the start of Saudi Arabia’s intervention in Yemen, according to the UN.


Safe zones in Syria come into force: Here’s what we know about them

Safe zones in Syria come into force: Here’s what we know about them
The Russian-proposed safe zones in Syria – where no fighting between the government and opposition is allowed – came into force at 21:00 GMT May 5. RT sums up what’s already known about the initiative aimed at resolving the conflict in the country.

The safe or de-escalation zones in Syria are described as a temporary measure which will be enforced for the next six months with the possibility of extending it for another six.

The safe zones were agreed by the guarantor-states – Russia, Iran and Turkey – during negotiations in the Kazakh capital, Astana Thursday. All parties expressed hope that the initiative will lead the way for the settlement of the conflict.

4 zones

The four safe zones are established in Syria’s Idlib Governorate and parts of neighboring Latakia, Aleppo and Hama provinces; in the northern part of Homs province; in the Damascus neighborhood of Eastern Ghouta, and in parts of southern Deraa and Quneitra provinces bordering Jordan.

Syrian government forces and the armed opposition will be prevented from fighting each other and carrying out airstrikes within the safe zones by means of security buffers, checkpoints and observation posts controlled by the guarantor states.

Russia, Iran and Turkey agreed to prepare maps that will separate the areas controlled by the so-called “moderate opposition” from the territories held by the jihadists and provide precise safe zone demarcation by June 4.

Airspace over safe zones

Russian Aerospace Forces have already, on May 1 paused their airstrikes in the areas demarcated as safe zones, Russia’s Defense Ministry said.

The airspace over the safe zones may also be closed for the planes of the US-led coalition, with Russia’s Foreign Ministry saying the issue is being negotiated between the Russian and American militaries.

Fighting terrorists

Around 42,000 opposition fighters currently remain on the territory of the four security zones, with the majority of the militants located in Idlib (14,500) and near the Jordanian border (15,000), according to Russian estimates.

The establishment of safe zones doesn’t mean that the fight against Islamic State, Jabhat al-Nusra and other terrorist groups will stop in the country. On the contrary, the move will allow Syria to free additional forces to tackle the jihadists, Russia’s Defense Ministry said.

The Syrian government supported the implementation of the safe zones in the country and confirmed its commitment to fighting terrorism.

Opposition compliance under question

There’s no certainty over the opposition’s compliance with the initiative as the representatives of the militants walked out from the signing ceremony in Astana, claiming, they won’t accept Iran as a guarantor state.

International reaction

The United Nations has welcomed the establishment of the safe zones, with UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, expressing hope that it’ll improve the lives of the population and UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, hailing the initiative as a step in the right direction.

READ MORE: US-led coalition warplanes banned from Syria safe zones – Russian envoy

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that he understood from a phone call with his  US counterpart Donald Trump, that the US administration supports the idea of safe zones in Syria. The State Department said it appreciated “the efforts of Turkey and the Russian Federation to pursue this agreement and have encouraged the Syrian opposition to participate actively in the discussions”. It, however, expressed concerns over Iran’s participation in the


Ukraine bans Steven Seagal as ‘threat to national security’

Ukraine bans Steven Seagal as ‘threat to national security’
The US action movie star Steven Seagal has been barred from entering Ukraine for five years after the Ukrainian security service (SBU) labeled him a security threat and placed him on a blacklist.

READ MORE: Steven Seagal visits Belarusian president, receives carrot & watermelons (VIDEO)

“A decision concerning an entry ban is taken if there is enough information… about a person committing a socially dangerous act that contradicts the interests of Ukraine’s security protection irrespective of a territory where it was committed,” the SBU said in a written response to the Ukrainian media outlet Apostrophe.

The statement also said that an offense committed by a person should fall under the jurisdiction of the SBU for this person to be banned from entering Ukraine. However, it did not provide any details that could shed light as to why the US actor captured the attention of the Ukrainian security service.

The SBU spokeswoman also confirmed the ban to another Ukrainian media organisation, UNN.

Seagal took the news about his ban from Ukraine with sarcasm.

“Apart from a black belt, I have a black list now,” Seagal said, according to his representative, who also told TASS that the actor has a 7th dan (degree) in the modern Japanese martial art aikido.

In July 2015, Seagal was declared persona non grata by the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture along with some 600 other people no longer welcome in Ukraine.

The US superstar was singled out by  Kiev after taking the stage during a concert in the Crimean Black Sea port city of Sevastopol in August 2014, organized by Russian biker club, the Night Wolves.

Seagal, famous for a string of action movies including Under Siege and On Deadly Ground, was awarded Russian citizenship on November 3.

Russian President Vladimir Putin personally presented the Hollywood star, whose father’s parents emigrated from Russia, with a Russian passport at the Kremlin weeks later.

Seagal is not the first celebrity to be banned from entering Ukraine as Kiev has denied entry to a range of public figures, including politicians, actors and athletes.

In 2015, the former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was barred from entering Ukraine for three years in the “interests of national security.”

Earlier the same year, Ukraine blacklisted famous French actor Gerard Depardieu for five years, as its security service also classed him a “threat to the national security.”

Depardieu was made a Russian citizen in 2013.

In August 2015, Kiev added US boxing champion Roy Jones Jr. to its blacklist. The Ukrainian authorities apparently considered the renowned boxer an especially grave threat as they did not only ban him permanently from entering Ukraine, but also threatened him with a criminal case. Prior to the ban, Jones visited Crimea and asked Putin to grant him Russian citizenship.

READ MORE: Putin grants Russian passport to US boxing legend Roy Jones Jr.

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