GENEVA (Dispatches) – More than 10,000 children in Yemen have been killed or injured in violence linked to years of Saudi-led war in the impoverished country, a spokesman for UNICEF said Tuesday.
The verified tally from the United Nations’ reporting and monitoring operation provides what is surely an undercount of the real toll because many more child deaths and injuries go unrecorded, UNICEF spokesman James Elder told reporters.
He said the new numbers amount to four children killed or maimed every day, a “shameful milestone” since a Saudi-led coalition launched the war in 2015.
The UN has long considered Yemen as home to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. The country on the Arabian Peninsula faces the combined troubles of protracted conflict, economic devastation, and crumbling social and health services, as well as underfunded UN assistance programs.
More than four in five children require humanitarian assistance, which amounts to some 11 million kids, UNICEF says.
According to the UN figures, a total of 3,455 children were killed and more than 6,600 injured in the fighting in Yemen between March 15, 2015 and Sept. 30 this year.
Saudi Arabia and its allies launched the devastating war against the poorest Middle Eastern country to reinstall former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh, and crush the Ansarullah resistance movement.
The war, accompanied by a tight siege, has failed to reach its goals, but it has killed hundreds of thousands of Yemeni people and put millions more at risk of starvation by destroying much of the country’s infrastructure.
Leader of Ansarullah movement, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, says the Yemeni people’s efforts to achieve freedom and independence are uncompromisable, urging the nation to continue to counter the U.S.-backed Saudi aggression.
In a speech via video conference on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) on Monday, Houthi said the Yemeni people are inspired by the life and biography of the prophet (PBUH) and enlightened by his guidance in the pursuit of putting an end to the hegemony of arrogance.
He praised the crowds of people who took to the streets of Sana’a and other Yemeni provinces to mark the auspicious occasion.
Houthi called on the Yemeni people to “continue their efforts to confront the brutal U.S.-Saudi aggression,” stressing, “We are religiously obliged to confront the aggression with firmness until the siege is lifted and the aggression and occupation end.”
He stressed that the Yemenis’ efforts to achieve freedom and independence is “a holy jihad (fight) for the sake of God that will never be compromised.”