Plight of seven-month-old Issa in Yemen highlights the heartbreaking cost of war

When Yemen comes on the television it’s tempting to look away. 

It’s what a lot of governments around the world have done.

The international community knows that Yemen is a disaster that’s happening, not waiting to happen. But providing help has got harder. 

Inevitably, as need at home has increased, the ability/will to assist Yemen has decreased correspondingly.

A child, who is suffering in Yemen, being looked after in hospital. Credit: ITV News

Yemen tops the list of countries most dependent on other countries. 

Eighty per cent of its people need international aid to survive. 

Supplies are dwindling and not being replenished sufficiently.

If the world’s richest and most peaceful countries are reeling as they confront coronavirus, what chance does Yemen have?

It was a basket-case long before six years of war reduced its immunity level to zero. 

Malnutrition, the absence of sanitation and a bombed-out healthcare system have made Yemenis defenceless.

Today we focus on a seven-month-old baby Issa Nasser, who was stricken with acute malnutrition.

Seven-month-old baby Issa Nasser was stricken with acute malnutrition. Credit: ITV News

The war made his family nomadic and destitute. His father was a fisherman until air strikesdestroyed his boats and his home.

Robbed of his way of life and where he lived it Ibrahim was forced to re-locate his family several times.

The baby’s mother isn’t producing her own breast milk and the family can’t get their hands on other baby food. 

Ibrahim spent most of June taking baby Issa to the nearest clinic. 

Ibrahim was advised to take Issa to another medical centre, but there too treatment was rudimentary. Credit: ITV News

But doctors couldn’t provide much in the way of help beyond monitoring the child’s condition.

All the measurements – weight, arm circumference etc – put Issa deep in the red zone.

Ibrahim was advised to take Issa to another medical centre, but there too treatment was rudimentary.

His only chance was specialist treatment at what passes for a hospital in another town several miles away.

But it was a journey Issa could not complete. He died in his parent’s arms on the back of a motorbike.

So let down by this world Issa passed away to whatever’s next aged just seven months.