At least 47 children were “killed or maimed” in Yemen’s civil war in January and February following a surge in violence, the United Nations children’s fund said on Saturday.
Children are the “first and most to suffer”, UNICEF said, adding that at least 10,000 minors have been killed or injured since 2015, when the Saudi-led military alliance launched air raids in the Middle East’s poorest country.
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The military intervention came after Houthi rebels captured the capital, Sanaa, and large parts of northern Yemen forcing the internationally recognised President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee.
“Just over the first two months of this year, 47 children were reportedly killed or maimed in several locations across Yemen,” Philippe Duamelle, UNICEF representative to Yemen, said in a statement.
“Since the conflict escalated in Yemen nearly seven years ago, the UN verified that more than 10,200 children have been killed or injured. The actual number is likely much higher.”
In the Ukraine war, at least 71 children have been killed and more than 100 wounded in the two weeks since Russia’s invasion on February 24, a Ukrainian parliament official said on Thursday.
Hundreds of thousands of people have died as a direct or indirect consequence of Yemen’s war between the Iran-backed Houthi rebels and government forces backed by the Saudi-led military coalition.
“Violence, misery and grief have been commonplace in Yemen with severe consequences on millions of children and families,” Duamelle said.
“It is high time that a sustainable political solution is reached for people and their children to finally live in the peace they so well deserve.”
The conflict has caused a collapse in basic services such as healthcare and education, with millions of people displaced and 80 percent of the population dependent on aid.
More than 2,500 schools are unusable, according to UNICEF, as they have been destroyed, converted for military purposes, or used to shelter the displaced.
A report released by the UN Security Council in January said nearly 2,000 children recruited by the rebels had died on the battlefield between January 2020 and May 2021.