Reports from Yemen’s Hajjah Governorate indicate that scores of civilians have been killed following airstrikes that hit residential areas over the past two days. Medical sources suggest that at least 22 have died, with more than 30 injured during the aerial bombardment.
“We condemn these deaths and injuries unequivocally and we share our deep condolences with the families of the victims,” said UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the country, Lise Grande. “It is outrageous that innocent civilians continue to die needlessly in a conflict that should, and can be solved”, she added.
Reportedly, the attacks took place in Kushar district, and took the lives of 10 women and 12 children. Among the 30 injured, at least 14 were under-18. Many of the injured children have been sent to hospitals in Abs district and in Sana’a for treatment and several require possible evacuation to survive.
In her statement, Ms. Grande added that “a higher percentage of people in Yemen are hungry and suffering, than in any other country.” The province of Hajjah is one of the worst impacted, with more than a million people going hungry and thousands of new cholera cases being reported on a regular basis.
“We fear that thousands of civilians are trapped between the parties [to the conflict] and lack the basic services they need to survive,” lamented Ms. Grande.
“We’re doing everything we can to reach the people who need help in Hajjah and throughout the country,” she explained, noting that in Hajjah specifically, humanitarian organisations have distributed emergency supplies, provided access to safe drinking water and dispatched emergency mobile medical teams.
“We desperately want to help people but we are facing serious problems,” said the Humanitarian Coordinator. “We need access, visas, specialized equipment and approvals for our programmes,” she added, asking all parties to the conflict to help humanitarians do their life-saving work.
Since conflict escalated in 2015, Yemen has been facing the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Nearly four in five Yemenis in the country depend on humanitarian assistance and protection to survive. About 10 million people are on the brink of famine and starvation, and 7 million people are malnourished.
The 2019 Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan requires US$4.2 billion to assist more than 20 million Yemenis including 10 million people who rely entirely on humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs every month. To date, the response is only 4 per cent funded.