On Friday 21st January, a series of attacks across Yemen killed and injured hundreds of people, including 91 people who were killed in a mass casualty airstrike on a detention facility in Sa’ada. This is the deadliest event recorded in more than two years. Around the same time, attacks on a telecom facility housing the country’s key gateway for internet and mobile connectivity plunged the entire nation into the dark. On 17th January, a Yemen conflict-related drone attack targeting an oil facility in Abu Dhabi had also killed three people. Humanity & Inclusion urges the parties to the conflict to protect civilians from the horror of the ongoing violence and to stop the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.
Hospitals were overwhelmed by a mass influx of wounded people in the Northern city of Sa’ada and reportedly, unable to provide assistance to everyone affected due to limited capacities and emergency supplies.
Other casualties were reported in Hodeidah, where at least three children were killed and many more injured. At the same time, internet and mobile phone networks were lost across the entire nation following attacks on a key telecom facility. The incident severely impacted civilians and humanitarian operations alike, also leaving Humanity & Inclusion’s operational communications disrupted for several days.
Other telecommunications sites were also targeted, exacerbating the isolating impact of the conflict on civilians, while an attack on a water reservoir in Sa’ada earlier this month cut 120,000 people off from clean water supply. Numerous airstrikes were further conducted in the vicinity of hospitals and health facilities in the past few days, several of which were reported to have been damaged as a result.
Although recent escalations have renewed attention for the seven-year-standing brutal armed conflict, the use of indiscriminate airstrikes, artillery shelling and virtually every form of explosive weaponry by both parties to the conflict has never stopped at any point.
Seven years of uninterrupted and systematic destruction of civilian infrastructure has caused death and injury, contributed to hunger and disease, and dramatically reduced the ability of the population to access essential services such as healthcare, clean water and electricity. With over two-thirds of the population considered in need of humanitarian aid, all infrastructure and public services are absolutely vital to the survival of the Yemeni people.
“Explosive weapons not only cause death and injury, but wide-scale destruction of hospitals, schools and housing in areas far beyond the initial point of impact as well. Their effects can never be limited to a single structure or service, and in Yemen, these domino effects have shown to be just as deadly as the initial impact of an attack.” Antoine Jeune, Humanity & Inclusion Yemen Country Director.
Parties to the conflict and their allies should protect the civilian populations from the horror of the ongoing violence, stop the use of explosive weapons in populated areas as they risk severe harm to civilians and take immediate, practical, measures to eliminate their impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure.
As violence continues to escalate after the Human Rights Council voted to end the mandate of the Group of Eminent Experts, the only international and independent body tasked with investigating alleged violations and abuses of international humanitarian law committed by all parties to the conflict, we also call on the international community to urgently reinstate an international independent monitoring and reporting mechanism on Yemen.
- Interview available upon request with Humanity & Inclusion experts based in Yemen
- Possibility to organise a media visit to our rehabilitation and psychosocial projects in Yemen supporting people impacting by the conflict