Nearly 100 civilians killed or wounded every week in Yemen: UN

Almost 5,000 civilians were killed or injured in 2018, with children accounting for a fifth of all casualties.

Yemenis bury the dead
Under the leadership of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the coalition has launched more than 18,000 air raids on Yemen [Abduljabbar Zeyad/Reuters]

Almost 100 civilians were either killed or wounded every week in Yemen last year, with children accounting for a fifth of all casualties, the United Nations has said.

According to figures released by the world body’s refugee agency on Thursday, more than 4,800 civilian deaths and injuries were reported over the course of 2018,

Children accounted for 410 deaths and 542 injuries, the UNHCR said.

Relying on open source data for its findings, the agency noted that nearly half of all the casualties – 48 percent – were reported in the western city of Hodeidah, whose strategic port has been the scene of fierce fighting between Houthi rebels and Saudi-UAE-backed fighters supporting Yemen’s government.

The UN figures also showed that a staggering 30 percent of the civilians were either killed and wounded inside their homes, with non-combatants also targeted when travelling on roads, working on farms and at other civilian sites.

“The report illustrates the staggering human cost of the conflict,” said Volker Turk, the UNHCR’s assistant high commissioner for refugees.

“Civilians in Yemen continue to face serious risks to their safety, well-being and basic rights. Exposed to daily violence, many live under constant fear and suffer in deteriorating conditions, turning in desperation to harmful coping mechanisms in order to survive”.

10,000 killed?

Despite the ferocity of the conflict, a figure of 10,000 has frequently cited by journalists and relief agencies to describe the number of civilian deaths in the conflict.

That number is based on figures released by the UN in August 2016.

However, according to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), at least 60,223 people may have been killed since January 2016, nine months after Saudi Arabia launched a massive aerial campaign in support of the forces fighting the Houthis.

The figure does not include deaths caused by disease or malnutrition, with charities such as Save the Children estimating as many 85,000 children may have starved to death.

The war has been at a stalemate for years, with the coalition and Yemeni forces unable to dislodge the Houthis from the capital, Sanaa, and other urban centres.

The fighting and ensuing economic collapse have also unleashed the world’s most urgent humanitarian crisis, with 14 million of the impoverished country’s 29 million population on the brink of starvation.

The cost of food has jumped by an average of 68 percent since 2015, according to the UN, while the price of commodities such as petrol, diesel and cooking gas has increased by at least 25 percent in the past year.

Source: Al Jazeera