GENEVA - U.N. agencies are expressing anger and sadness at the deaths and injuries of dozens of civilians, including children, hit by airstrikes on the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, Thursday night.
This is just the latest tragedy to hit Yemen, which has been at war for more than four years.The U.N. human rights office reports nearly 7,000 civilians have been killed and 10,800 wounded as of November 2018.
Most of the deaths and injuries are due to aerial bombardments by the Saudi-led coalition, it reports. Saudi Arabia entered the civil conflict in March 2015 in support of the Yemeni government, which is locked in a fight for power with the Houthi rebels, who are backed by Iran.
A spokesman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Jens Laerke, said preliminary reports indicate five children were killed and 16 wounded by the airstrike.He says a number of health workers are among dozens of other casualties.
"The injured, including the children, were rushed to hospital for medical treatments," Laerke said. "There are several hospitals functioning there. Two of them are being provided with support from humanitarian partners and they have received the wounded."
A Somali refugee woman and her daughter reportedly are among the injured receiving critical treatment. The U.N. refugee agency reports Somalis comprise more than 90% of the 275,000 refugees and asylum-seekers in Yemen.
UNHCR spokesman Andrej Mahecic said the already precarious situation of asylum-seekers and migrants in Yemen has deteriorated significantly as a result of the conflict.
"Incidents like these obviously result in tragic loss of civilian life and injury and continue to illustrate the fact that the war in Yemen is taking a brutal toll on the civilian population," he said. "We add our voice to the calls that civilians must be protected and parties to the conflict must ensure adherence to their obligations enshrined under the international Humanitarian Law."
The United Nations calls Yemen the world's worst humanitarian crisis.It reports nearly 80% of the country's population of 24 million needs humanitarian assistance and protection.
Unfortunately, aid agencies report the security situation and lack of access are hampering their ability to reach the millions of people in desperate need of aid.Another problem is the lack of support from the international community.The U.N. reports its $4.2 billion appeal to assist more than 20 million Yemenis is only 21% funded.