Yemen bus attack just the latest outrage against civilians: UN agencies

Giles Clarke/OCHA
A young boy runs with his tyre past buildings damaged by air strikes in Saada Old Town.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

An air strike on a busy market area in Yemen that reportedly killed scores of people including more than 20 children on a bus, is likely the worst attack on youngsters in the conflict so far, and the latest in a recent spate of violence targeting civilians, UN agencies said on Friday.

According to the UN Human Rights Office, OHCHR, and UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, at least 21 boys – most of them under the age of 15 – died when their bus was hit on Thursday in Dahyan market in Saada, in the north of the country.

More than 30 boys were also injured in the aerial bombardment, which was carried out by a Saudi-led international coalition that has backed Yemen President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi against Houthi opposition forces for more than three years.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres strongly condemned the attack on Thursday, urging an “independent and prompt investigation”, adding that warring parties must take “constant care to spare civilians”.

The UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, said that he was “deeply shocked by the appalling tragedy that claimed so many innocent lives”. The UN official has invited the warring parties to Geneva on 6 September in a bid to reach a political solution to the conflict – the first such discussions since 2016.

“This should urge us all to exert more efforts to end the conflict through an inclusive intra-Yemeni dialogue,” he added, stressing that he hoped all of those involved in the fighting across the country will “engage constructively in the political process, including consultations scheduled in Geneva in September.”

Briefing journalists in Geneva on Friday, UNICEF spokesperson Christophe Boulierac said that the agency believed the air strike on the school bus constituted “the single worst attack” on children since 2015. “No such number of children have been involved in one incident before,” he added. Mr. Boulierac explained that following the attack, UNICEF staff on the ground reported chaotic scenes at the hospital where victims were being treated, adding that the number of fatalities could rise.

Reiterating the UN chief’s call for Yemen’s belligerents to spare civilians, OHCHR spokesperson Liz Throssell noted that the bus attack followed a series of more minor – but deadly – incidents involving youngsters last month.

“A large number of children were killed yesterday appallingly, but in July, there are all manner of smaller incidents,” she said. “On 19 July, there were four children killed when a coalition air strike struck a farm. On 30 July, two children were killed when an air strike hit a motorbike. On 31 July, two children were killed; they were out with their sheep, grazing, and they took a direct hit from an aerial strike.”

Turning to the recent targeting of a hospital and other targets in the key Houthi-controlled port city of Hudaydah, the OHCHR spokesperson said that staff there had documented “at least” 41 civilian deaths. Among the dead were six children and four women, Ms. Throssell said, noting that mortars had struck different built-up locations in Al Hawak district.

These included the fishing port, a dock and hangar “at the time full of fishermen and street vendors”, the OHCHR spokesperson explained, adding that Al-Thawra hospital was hit shortly afterwards. In that attack, three mortars were fired, including one that landed in a busy street “full of traffic, street vendors and pedestrians”, Ms. Throssell said.

Between 26 March and 9 August 2018, OHCHR has documented 17,062 civilian casualties in Yemen; this includes 6,592 dead and 10,470 injured. The majority of these casualties – 10,471 – were as a result of air strikes carried out by the Saudi-led Coalition, it said in a statement.

Amid ongoing conflict in one of the world’s poorest countries, UNICEF warned that the consequences for children have been particularly striking.

“Every day in Yemen, children are starving, children are dying because of the level of violence and its consequences,” spokesperson Christophe Boulierac said. “1.8 million children are at risk of diarrhoeal diseases, 1.3 million children are at risk of pneumonia, more than 4 million children are in acute need of educational assistance. So, any violence in Yemen, any facility that provides water indirectly threatens the lives of children.”

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

When should you self-isolate, self-quarantine or social-distance?

A Wholesome Health Care for Transgenders: Sex Reassignment Surgery

At this Italian bookshop, children swap their recycling for something to read

Politics needs to “Youth UP” in order the ensure the future of our democracies

Do we judge robots on their colour? This study says we do

Austria, Italy, Portugal, Spain receive €279m after natural disasters in 2019

Vulnerable children face ‘dire and dangerous’ situation on Greek island reception centres, UNICEF warns

Decades of progress ‘can be wiped out overnight,’ UN chief laments at climate session in Yokohama

European Labour Authority starts its work

MWC 2016 Live: Industrial world prepares to reap digital benefits

Mental health: the challenge of society

‘Forgotten’ pneumonia epidemic kills more children than any other disease

More ambition needed for EU recovery instruments, says majority of MEPs

Marco Polo’s Dream

5 ways to swim, not sink, as part of a ‘liquid workforce’

Commission: Raising the social issues that can make or break the monetary union

MWC 2016 Live: Mobile ad industry still waiting for “revolution”

SDG progress ‘in danger’ of going backwards without change in direction, new UN report reveals

Thursday’s Daily Brief: Women in peacekeeping, the arrest of Sudan’s leader, updates on Libya, Nigeria and Syria

Why city residents should have a say in what their cities look like

Slight easing of G20 GDP growth in first quarter of 2018

Resettlement: EU Member States’ pledges exceed 30,000 places for 2020

At Arab League Summit, Guterres reaffirms strong link between UN and people of Arab world

UN condemns attack that leaves one ‘blue helmet’ dead in Central African Republic

A Valentine’s Special: giving back, a dialogue of love

Right2Water initiative: Is the Commission ready to listen to citizens?

This city in India swaps plastic for free meals

Here’s how tech is revolutionising transport for low-income communities in urban Africa

How the EU sees its own and Russia’s role in Ukraine

Global migration, by the numbers: who migrates, where they go and why

US Tariffs on Steel and Aluminium: Statement of Trade Committee Chair

Armenia should take vigorous measures against entrenched corruption

To Brexit, or not to Brexit…rather not: 10 Downing Street, London

How bad is the Eurozone economy? The ECB thinks too bad

Q and A on the draft digital copyright directive

Vaccine against Ebola: Commission grants new market authorisations

‘Multiplicity’ of rights violations in Ukraine as fifth winter of conflict bites

Pakistan’s digital revolution is happening faster than you think

Commission and ECB prepare new financial mega-tool in support of SMEs

A Valentine’s Special: we can never overdose on love

Innovation for a smarter world: ITU Telecom World 2018

The smartest cyber investment is collective action. Here’s why

How Hawaii plans to be the first US state to run entirely on clean energy

‘Cataclysmic events’ in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, began ‘global push’ against nuclear weapons says Guterres, honouring victims

GSMA announces first speakers for Mobile 360 Series-Middle East and North Africa

How to rebuild trust and integrity in South Africa

How Islamic finance can build resilience to climate change

Gender disparity in salary and promotion in medicine: still a long way to go

Last-chance Commission: Why Juncker promised investments of €300 billion?

UN health agency highlights lifestyle choices that can prevent onset of dementia, as millions more succumb each year

The EU slowly exits from “Excessive Deficit Procedure” and hopefully from ‘Excessive Austerity Procedure’ too

French elections: by the time the EU economy revives and the migration crisis is solved extremists could take over Europe

With Libyans now ‘fighting the wars of others’ inside their own country, UN envoy urges Security Council action to end violence

Blockchain could boost global trade by $1 trillion

MWC 2016 LIVE: BT chief aims to be at UK 5G forefront

European Commission steps up protection of European intellectual property in global markets

Citizens to be the cornerstone of the Conference on the Future of Europe

4 fixes for equipment supply chains before the next COVID-19 waves hit

‘An unprecedented fiscal response’ – political and business leaders on managing the coronavirus crisis

Dual Food Quality: Commission releases study assessing differences in the composition of EU food products

More Stings?


Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s