The war in Yemen has taken the lives of nearly 1,400 children and forced the closure of almost 2,000 schools, some of which are now being used as shelters for displaced families, a United Nations children's fund representative said Wednesday.
“This is the latest example of how attacks on civilian areas continue to kill and injure children in Yemen. Instead of learning, children are witnessing death, war and destruction," Meritxell Relano, UNICEF's Yemen representative said.
According to Relano, more than 2,140 children have been wounded, in addition to those who have been killed, since the Yemeni conflict escalated in March 2015 when Saudi Arabia joined Yemen's government to fight Iran-backed Houthi rebels.
Relano said the actual numbers "are likely to be much higher."
Following two airstrikes near a school outside Yemen's capital of Sana'a Tuesday that killed one girl and injured four more, Relano called on both sides to protect children and stop attacks on civilian areas.
“Schools should be zones of peace at all times, a sanctuary where children can learn, grow, play and be safe. Children should never risk their lives only to attend school," she said.