Why Is Yemen Opting For Child Marriage And Labour in Pandemic Times?
The humanitarian crisis in Yemen has reached to levels of desperation amongst the surviving Yemeni population that has now resorted to child marriage and labour. With the UN led humanitarian programs not being able to sustain the population, the gentry it is said has taken on to some very sad ‘coping mechanisms’ in the economic terms.
In order to make ends meet, there are resorting to getting their minor daughters married off and also indulging using them for child labour. The war ravaged country has been funded through various United Nation run humanitarian programs.But the recent onset of the corona virus has put extreme strain on the financial and economic aids, making it difficult for these programmes to sustain safe and healthy standards of living.
With the US having threatened to reduce its funding to the UN led programmes, the aid has reduced and there isn’t enough to sustain the surviving Yemeni population. According to UNICEF reports, troubled my poverty and unemployment, many Yemeni families with young girls are now choosing them get them married off early, in the hope they are fed better. Most of them know that they are no longer able to afford to provide for their daughters, and hope that their husbands’ families were better equipped to care for them. Currently, almost left 80 percent of the country population is dependent on humanitarian aid to survive.
According to an International Rescue Committee Report, rates of child marriage have tripled. Also, more than 2 million children are already suffering from malnutrition and the pandemic will only make their survival impossible due to low immunity.
The number of contracted cases to the ones actually reported is far more. This is due to poor data management and testing facilities across the country. The Houthi rebels have made it impossible for the right medical aid and information to be collated for the larger good of the surviving population of 3 million Yemenis whose survival hangs through lose threads only. Earlier this month, Save the Children said nearly 400 people were reported to have died of coronavirus-like symptoms in one week in the city of Aden alone. It said that several hospitals in the city had shut down and medical staff was refusing to go to work due to a lack of proper PPE.
Children are most vulnerable and the future of the girl child is in danger. Underage marriages could also lead to cases of unwanted pregnancies, child abuse and other related psychological effects, warn WHO and UNICEF.