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Yemen Crisis: How to help children facing famine

Yemen's civil war has led to the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.
/ Source: TODAY

As Ukrainian people face war and some flee their country, it's can be hard to remember there are other ongoing conflicts and humanitarian crises throughout the the world.

On March 6, Angelina Jolie posted on Instagram to remind people of the Yemeni civil war, what the United Nations calls “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis." The country has been embroiled in a conflict since 2015 that dramatically impacts the daily lives of more than 20 million Yemeni people.

Jolie is in Aden, Yemen with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. She shared some startling facts in her Instagram post, including that nearly two million Yemeni children are missing school because of the war. What's more, about 79 percent of Yemen's population needs humanitarian assistance to survive, according to the International Rescue Committee. Food insecurity remains a problem for many in the country.

“Millions of children are at immediate risk of starvation,” Greg Ramm, vice president for humanitarian response for Save the Children, told TODAY Parents. “I would ask people to think about what they would want other people to do if they were in that situation.”

Save the Children, the International Rescue Committee and their partner organizations are working in Yemen to provide food, safety, medicine and education. Monetary donations make their work possible.

There are several direct ways people can help the starving children in Yemen.

Donate money

It’s very difficult to get people and in-kind donations into Yemen right now, said Ramm. This makes financial donations extremely important. The following organizations are working in Yemen and are in need of financial support:

"The donations are most urgently needed," Amanda Catanzano, senior director of international programs policy and advocacy at the IRC told TODAY. "We try to respond with cash for those in need so they can make their own decisions of what they need to survive."

People can verify that an organization is legitimate by searching Charity Navigator.

Spread the news

  • Contact your U.S. senator here.
  • Contact your U.S. representative here.
  • Contact the President of the United States here.
  • Share stories about Yemen on social media to raise awareness.

“We are directly treating malnourished children and keeping the health centers open. We are working to keep schools open so the children can continue to learn and have a bit of normalcy,” Ramm said. “(Donated) money would go directly to those programs to help children and their families who are struggling during a horrible civil wars.”

Many believe the horrific conditions in Yemen can be resolved.

"This is a man-made crisis," Catanzano said. "This is political action drawing this out."

Save the Children and IRC's CEOs joined several other CEOs of humanitarian organizations, including Oxfam America, CARE US and Norwegian Refugee Council USA, to share a joint letter urging the United States government to engage in diplomatic efforts to end the war in Yemen.

“We don’t think providing more military support is what is needed. What is needed is peace,” Ramm said. “We call on all parties to stop the war but you have to raise your voice so that the United States government plays a role to stop the fighting."

Catanzano agrees.

"This is a crisis driven exclusively by conflict," she said. "The only thing that will end this crisis is to end the war."

This story was originally published in November 2018 and has been updated.