Saudi assault on Yemen leaves 100 civilian casualties a week in 2018

Saudi Arabia’s military aggression against Yemen led to nearly 100 people being killed or injured each week in 2018, according to a new UN report.

According to the latest data released Thursday by a team from the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), more than 4800 civilians were killed or injured last year, resulting in an average of 93 civilian casualties per week.

“The report illustrates the staggering human cost of the conflict. Civilians in Yemen continue to face serious risks to security, well-being and basic rights. Exposed to daily violence, many live in constant fear and suffer deteriorating conditions, resorting to desperate and harmful survival mechanisms,” lamented UNHCR High Assistant Commissioner Volker Türk.

Most of the figures in 2018 were reported on the west coast of Yemen, which covers the province of Al-Hudayda, the target of offensives by the Saudi regime and related mercenaries. Nearly half (48%) of all reported casualties were recorded in this area, followed by the north-western provinces of Saada and Al-Jawf (22%) which also remain another epicentre of Saudi air raids.

The report also showed that one fifth of the civilian victims were children; 410 were killed and 542 injured. Thirty per cent of the victims died or were injured in their homes. Civilians also died while traveling on the highways, while working on farms and in local businesses, markets, and other civilian sites, the report said.

The text also highlighted the impact of armed conflict on civilians’ access to critical infrastructure and essential services. He noted that the bombing of civilian infrastructure made it difficult for more than half a million Yemeni civilians to access food, water, aid and medicine.

“UNHCR reiterates its call on all parties to the conflict to do their utmost to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure in accordance with international humanitarian law. Only a peaceful resolution of the conflict will stop the suffering and eliminate humanitarian needs,” Türk insisted.

Within two weeks, it is four years since Saudi Arabia and its allies launched a military campaign against Yemen, with US support, to restore to power former Yemeni fugitive Abdu Rabu Mansur Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh who supports military intervention in his country.

Specifically, the Riyadh-led war has left more than 60,000 civilians dead, according to Acled, as well as ravaged infrastructure and numerous hospitals, schools and factories. Yemen, according to the United Nations (UN), is now facing the worst famine in a century.

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