This is a difficult picture to look at — and for good reason. It shows a 5-month-old infant two days before he died.
Udai Faisal was one of countless Yemeni children suffering from the country's acute food shortages, as an Associated Press report details. He was brought into a hospital in Sanaa, the capital, early last week, his shriveled frame a little bundle of flaxen skin and protruding bones. Doctors attempted to administer him with a drip of antibiotics and a feeding solution. But it wasn't enough.
"His skeletal body broke down under the ravages of malnutrition, his limbs like twigs, his cheeks sunken, his eyes dry," wrote the AP. "He vomited yellow fluid from his nose and mouth. Then he stopped breathing."
This week marked the grim and largely unnoticed anniversary of the Saudi intervention into Yemen's civil war. The stated goal for that operation was to push back an offensive led by Houthi rebels, a largely Shiite faction, and restore the government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, whose government had been installed largely with Saudi backing.
But things haven't gone as planned. The wages of war, which include Saudi airstrikes and a naval blockade, have ravaged a nation that was already one of the most impoverished in the Middle East.
"The infrastructure, the health structure, the education structure and, in many ways, more importantly, the social structure have just been devastated," Barbara Bodine, former U.S ambassador to Yemen, told NPR.
Some 3,200 civilians have been killed in the grinding, attritional conflict — the majority of the casualties have been a result of aerial strikes, according to the United Nations. A new report from UNICEF found that 934 children have died so far in the conflict; at least six are killed or maimed daily.
As many as 320,000 children — like the young Udai — face severe malnutrition. More than 10 million are at risk of "going without safe drinking water and sanitation." Nearly 2 million have been forced out of school because of ongoing violence. Some 600 health facilities in the country have stopped working, either because of power cuts or because they've run out of supplies or both.
The entrenched battle between the Houthis -- a faction dominated by members from Shiite Zaidi sect and loosely allied to Iran — and forces backed by Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf allies has yielded no victors. The Houthis still control Sanaa, though were pushed back with Saudi assistance from the southern coastal city of Aden. All the while, civilians endure the terror of indiscriminate shelling and deadly airstrikes as well as the toll of food and water shortages.
Last week, the U.N. criticized the Saudi-led coalition after a suspected coalition airstrike hit a village market in Hajjah province, killing 106 people.
"The brutal reality is that some of these bombs have landed on innocent Yemeni men, women and children. This is why many human rights and humanitarian organizations, as well as the European Parliament, have called for an embargo on arms sales to Saudi Arabia," writes Sarah Leah Whitson of Human Rights Watch. She also pointed to the Obama administration's complicity for enabling Saudi Arabia's heavy-handed action.
Still, there are glimmers of hope for peace. A formal U.N.-declared cease-fire is expected to start on April 10 and be followed by a new round of talks between the warring sides.
But it's too late for Udai, whose whole brief life flickered in the shadow of war. On the day of his birth, his father told the AP, Saudi warplanes targeted Houthi positions near their home in the outskirts of Sanaa. Shrapnel hit their one-bedroom house.
"She was screaming and delivering the baby while the bombardment was rocking the place," the father said, speaking of his wife.