In this photo taken on Friday, Sept. 9, 2016, Salem, 5, who suffers from malnutrition, lies on a bed at a hospital in the port city of Hodeidah, southwest of Sanaa, Yemen. (AP Photo)
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Even before the war, Hudaida was one of the poorest cities in Yemen, the Arab world's most impoverished nation. Now, the destruction of the port city's fishing boats and infrastructure by the Arab-led coalition's airstrikes over the past 18 months of war has deprived the townspeople of their prime livelihood.The U.N. estimates that about 100,000 children under the age of five in the city and the surrounding province, also called Hudaida, are at risk of severe malnutrition.As Yemen's conflict dragged on, food prices soared and gasoline ran out. At Hudaida's central hospital, the 12-bed unit for children with severe malnutrition has been fully occupied for months. Salem's family is just one of about 600 impoverished and desperate families in villages along Hudaida's western coastline, he added.Abbsi says that even after the children improved enough to be discharged from hospital, their condition often deteriorated rapidly as their family struggled once more to feed them.UNICEF said that 2015 nutrition surveys in five of 10 highly affected governorates in Yemen, including Hudaida, showed that 96,600 children under the age of five are at risk of severe acute malnutrition – compared to 23,000 before the conflict escalated in March that year.
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