UN humanitarian chief has confirmed that Saudi-led alliance airstrikes in Yemen have resulted in the death of 30 civilians in the last two weeks, giving the perfect example of how middle-east has lost its humanitarian values.
The appalling attack took place on Thursday claiming lives of 4 women and 22 children trying to flee from the fight scene in the Al Durayhimi district, located in the south of the port city of Hodeidah, said Mark Lowcock, the under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs.
He further revealed that another strike in Al Durayhimi on Thursday killed four children. In his statement, Mr. Lowcock parroted the call for “an impartial, independent and prompt investigation into these most recent incidents” issued by the UN secretary-general, Antonio Guterres.
Nonetheless, the coalition promised to look into the matter while the attack was condemned internationally.
Executive Director of the UN children’s agency UNICEF, Henrietta Fore believed that the Saada attack “would be a turning point in the conflict” but the attacks on Thursday “indicate that it was not.”
Ms. Fore said in a statement, “I — once again — call for the warring parties, those who have influence over them, the UN Security Council and the international community to take action and end this conflict once and for all. The lives of thousands of vulnerable children across Yemen must be a priority for all.”
Yemen’s problems began in 2014 when Houthi Shia rebels took over the capital of Sanaa and topped its internationally-recognized government. Since then, a Saudi-led alliance allied with the government has been waging war with Iranian-aligned Houthis.
Civilians have been the major victims in the fight, pushing Yemen to the brink of starvation, crippling country’s health system and claiming lives of over 10,000 people.
Inhuman effects of Yemeni war
State media of the United Arab Emirates – a key coalition member – disagreed with the claim of Houthis that coalition was to be blamed for Thursday’s attack and said the rebels launched the attack, killing one child and injuring others
As Mr. Lowcock’s testimonial puts the blame head-on on the coalition, neither side’s claims could be verified independently.
Human Rights Watch on Friday released a 90-page report followed by the condemnation of Mr. Lowcock, indicting others and Saudis of failing to launch plausible investigations into alleged war crimes committed in Yemen.
Mr. Lowcock emphasized the fact that the humanitarian operation currently in Yemen is the largest operation, with three-quarters of the population in need of aid. He said, in 2018 the UN and its partners assisted more than 8 million people.
He went on expressing his deep concern at the proximity of attacks to humanitarian sites, including water and sanitation operations and health facilities.
He said, “The parties to the conflict must respect their obligations under the international humanitarian law and those with influence over them must ensure that everything possible is done to protect civilians.”
Frank McManus, a New York-based humanitarian organization working in over 40 countries and Yemen country director for the International Rescue Committee, forewarned that attacks like those in Hodeida and Saada “will undermine the potential for progress” in peace negotiations in Geneva between the Houthis and the government scheduled to start on 6 September.
Mr. McManus said in a statement, “The international community must demand action — an immediate ceasefire should be agreed upon and a full, independent investigation into these events must be undertaken. But thus far, international silence in response to violations in Yemen has been deafening and it is allowing wanton disregard for civilian life to become the new normal in conflict.”
He called on France, U.K., and U.N to use their clout to alleviate suffering saying: “Yemen, and Yemenis, cannot wait.”