Save the Children has voiced alarm over a “dramatic” rise in civilian casualties in Yemen’s Hudaydah since June, when the Saudi-led coalition of invaders launched an offensive to seize the lifeline port city.
“Between January and May this year, there were an average of 44 civilian casualties every month in al-Hudaydah. The subsequent three months (June-August) saw the figure jump to a monthly average of 116 – an increase of 164 percent,” the London-based NGO reported on Monday.
The civilian casualties in Hudaydah accounted for 51 percent of all civilian casualties in Yemen between June and August this year, it added, citing the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data monitoring group.
In the course of the three months, there had been at least 349 civilian deaths in the city, while the national total reached 685, the monitor’s figures showed.
“Save the Children field teams are meeting children who have suffered severe and life-changing injuries caused by explosive weapons, from airstrikes to landmines. Treating these injuries is particularly challenging in Yemen, where the health system has all but collapsed, prosthetics are hard to come by, and there are few surgeons trained to treat traumatic injuries,” the fund said.
The body’s CEO Thorning-Schmidt said, “When children are targeted and killed or when hunger is used as a weapon of war, the world must speak out and do everything in its power to hold those responsible to account.”
He was speaking in New York, where the United Nations General Assembly is holding its 73rd session.
“Attacks on schools and hospitals are up – safe spaces that should never be targeted. This is a War on Children. The world seems to be accepting an outrageous disregard for the conventions of war, and children are paying the price. It’s shocking that in the 21st Century we are retreating on a principle that is so simple – children should be protected,” he added.
He also urged that all the parties concerned to make earnest efforts towards bringing about a political solution to the conflict.
Yemen has been in turmoil since 2014 when former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi stepped down and then fled to Riyadh.
To reinstall the ex-Yemeni government, the Saudi regime and a coalition of its allies launched a war against Yemen months later in 2015 against its popular Houthi Ansarullah movement, which currently runs state affairs in the absence of an effective government.
The bloody war, the UN says, has led to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in the poorest Arabian Peninsula state.