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Yemen: At least three children amongst 60 adults killed by brutal air attacks resulting in nationwide blackout

SANA'A, 21 January, 2022 – At least three children and more than 60 adults are reported to have been killed and at least 100 others injured in a series of airstrikes today in Yemen, Save the Children said, but the true number is feared to be higher.

The children were reportedly playing on a nearby football field when missiles struck the port town of Hudaida Friday morning. The airstrikes also damaged a vital telecommunication centre in Hudaida that controls Yemen's internet access, resulting in a nationwide internet blackout.

Another airstrike hit a temporary holding cell in the city of Sada today, reportedly killing over 60 people and injuring more than a 100, most of them migrants. It is not clear if any children were killed or injured in the attack.

Aid workers and paramedics continue to clear the rubble with more causalities expected to be discovered in both cities.

Save the Children’s Country Director in Yemen, Gillian Moyes, said: 

"Yemen continues to be one of the most dangerous places to be a child today, and children are bearing the brunt of this crisis. They are being killed and maimed, watching as their schools and hospitals are being destroyed, and denied access to basic lifesaving services. They are asking us: does it matter if I die? 

“The initial casualties report from Sada is horrifying. Migrants seeking better lives for themselves and their families, Yemeni civilians injured by the dozens, is a picture we never hoped to wake up to in Yemen”.

"While all Save the Children staff are accounted for, the internet outage is expected to reduce our capacity to operate in the coming days if not fixed."

The escalation in conflict across Yemen resulted in a 60% increase in civilian casualties in the last three months of 2021, with 2022 already poised to have wider consequences for civilians.

This comes after member states of the UN Human Rights Council voted last year to end the body’s mandate of experts investigating war crimes in Yemen.

Yemen’s hospitals, schools, water infrastructure and roads are in disarray after nearly seven years of conflict, further disrupting the lives of children and their families. 

Save the Children is calling on all parties to the conflict to abide by their obligations under International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law. Parties to the conflict must protect children and their families from the horror of the ongoing violence, avoid the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, and take immediate, practical measures to reduce their impact on homes, schools, hospitals and vital civilian infrastructure. 

Roisin Mangan, Conflict and Humanitarian Advocacy Advisor for Save the Children UK said:

"Enough is enough. The brutal killing of children must stop. The UK Government must stand up for the children of Yemen and echo our call to stop these air strikes on civilians. Parties to the conflict that continue to destroy critical infrastructure and kill children while playing football must be held to account. The UK Government must do everything in its power to stop the violence. It must use its leadership role at the UN Security Council to secure justice for Yemen's children. And it must finally put an end to the sale of arms to the Saudi-led coalition."


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