Middle East

1,000 children killed in Yemen in 15 months: UNICEF

UN children’s fund laments mounting casualties among children as ongoing conflict shows little sign of abating

10.08.2016
1,000 children killed in Yemen in 15 months: UNICEF Yemen has been racked by chaos since late 2014, when the Houthis and their allies overran Sanaa and other parts of the country, forcing President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi and his Saudi-backed government to temporarily flee to Riyadh.

By Ali Oweida and Mohamed al-Samei

MAARIB, Yemen

UN children's fund UNICEF said Tuesday that 1,121 children had been killed and another 1,650 injured since March of last year due to the ongoing conflict in Yemen.

"Children are paying the heaviest price of the conflict," Julien Harneis, UNICEF representative in Yemen, said in a statement. "The actual number is probably much higher."

Harneis went on to urge all sides of the conflict to comply with international humanitarian law and refrain from putting children in harm’s way.

In a Tuesday statement, World Health Organization (WHO) representative in Yemen Ahmed Shado warned that many medical facilities across the war-torn country had ceased to function due to chronic fuel and electricity shortfalls, along with shortages of medical staff and equipment.

Shado went on to note that Saudi King Salman Abdulaziz had donated more than $22 million to the WHO, which had allowed the organization to provide 120 tons of medicine and medical supplies this year to hospitals in the Yemeni provinces of Abyan, Aden, Dhale, Al-Mahrah, Shabwah, Lahij, Hadhramaut, Taiz, Al-Jawf, Maarib and Socotra.

- Ongoing violence

Despite the large number of children being killed and injured by conflict, the violence has shown little sign of abating.

On Wednesday, airstrikes carried out by a Saudi Arabia-led coalition targeted several positions held by the Shia Houthi militia group and their allies in the eastern part of capital Sanaa.

"Coalition warplanes carried out three airstrikes targeting positions held by [the Houthis and allied forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh] in the Jabal Yam area of the Nihm district," the Yemeni army’s media office tweeted.

The airstrikes coincided with fierce clashes on the ground as the army and other pro-government forces attempted to wrest the area from Houthi control.

The reports, however, have yet to be independently verified by Houthi sources.

Last Saturday, that Yemeni army launched a fresh operation aimed at retaking Sanaa from Houthis.

Yemen has been racked by chaos since late 2014, when the Houthis and their allies overran Sanaa and other parts of the country, forcing President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi and his Saudi-backed government to temporarily flee to Riyadh.

In March of last year, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a massive military campaign in Yemen aimed at reversing Houthi gains and restoring Hadi’s embattled government.

Backed by Saudi-led airstrikes, pro-Hadi forces have since managed to reclaim large swathes of the country’s south -- including provisional capital Aden -- but have failed to retake Sanaa and other strategic areas.

In April, the Yemeni government and the Houthis entered into UN-sponsored peace talks aimed at resolving the conflict, which has so far killed more than 6,400 people and forced some 2.5 million others to flee their homes, according to UN figures.

The talks broke down early this month, however, due to repeated violations of a fragile ceasefire, especially in and around Yemen’s central Taiz province.

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