Malnutrition could be this bad! So it was in the life of 5 month old Udai Faisal who died from extreme hunger and malnutrition as a result of the war in Yemen. With his cheeks sunk into his skull, limbs like twigs and his eyes dry, the picture shows the shocking negative effects malnutrition has had on the young children growing up in war-torn Yemen.
His mother Intissar Hezzam said:
‘He didn’t cry and there were no tears, just stiff. I screamed and fainted.’
The day Udai was born, warplanes from the Saudi-led coalition were striking an army base used by Houthi rebels in their district of Hazyaz, a shantytown on the southern edge of Sanaa. Shrapnel hit their one-bedroom house where Udai’s mother was in labor. ‘She was screaming and delivering the baby while the bombardment was rocking the place,’ the father said.
Hezzam breastfed her newborn son for about 20 days, but then her milk stopped, likely from her own malnutrition. His family lives off the pension that Udai’s father, Faisal Ahmed, gets as a former soldier, about £140 a month for him, his wife and nine other children ranging from 2 years old to 16.
He used to sometimes work construction, but they lost those jobs in the war. With food prices rising and supplies sporadic, the family eats once a day, usually yoghurt and bread, peas on a good day, said Udai’s parents.
The family turned to formula to feed Udai, but it wasn’t always available and they couldn’t always afford it. So every few days, Udai got formula and the other days he would get sugar and water. Three months after being born Udai was suffering from diarrhoea, severe malnutrition and a chest infection, he was rushed to the hospital but they didn’t have food and drug supplies and even the ones they did, the family couldn’t afford it.
He was taken to the emergency section at al-Sabeen Hospital on the 20th of March and was fed through the nose , but days after the family lost hope and took him home to die. Just 3 hours upon leaving the hospital, the poor child died and now the father blames the government for the death of his son.