'Disturbing' Reports of Civilian Deaths in Yemen, Warn International Aid Groups
'It is becoming increasingly apparent that the Saudi Arabian-led coalition is turning a blind eye to civilian deaths and suffering,' says Amnesty International
International aid organizations as well as the United Nations are sounding the alarm over "disturbing" reports of civilian casualties in Yemen as a Saudi-led coalition continued its bombing campaign for a sixth day.
A reported 93 civilians have been killed since the start of the airstrikes, which are allegedly targeting locations held by Iranian-backed Shiite Houthi rebels. An additional 364 Yemenis have been injured in the cities of Sana'a, Sa'da, Dhale, Hudayda, and Lahj, the UN reports.
Overnight, strikes reportedly targeting a Houthi checkpoint and fuel supplies killed 14 individuals, including four children and two women. At least 31 others were hospitalized with burns and shrapnel wounds.
In a statement, Said Boumedouha, deputy director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program, condemned the attack. "After several days of often intense bombardment in several areas across Yemen, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the Saudi Arabian-led coalition is turning a blind eye to civilian deaths and suffering caused by its military intervention," Boumedouha said.
Operation Decisive Storm, which began March 25, is backed by a coalition of Gulf states, including Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Bahrain, while the U.S. Pentagon and is providing coordination and intelligence.
On Tuesday, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, warned that the country stands of the verge of "total collapse" with the continued targeting of essential infrastructure.
Pointing to attacks on airports and electricity supplies in Sa'da, Sana'a, and Hudayda, as well as a hospital attack in Dhale, the High Commissioner continued: "Private homes, hospitals, education facilities and infrastructure in several locations have been destroyed, making life even more difficult for the people in this war-torn country."
The International Committee of the Red Cross also issued a statement saying that the intense fighting has brought "disturbing reports of civilian casualties."
The international aid organization, which is focusing on getting medical supplies into Yemen, said levels of fighting were especially high near the southern port city of Aden. "Every effort must be made to protect civilian life and property from attacks," the ICRC said.
At least 19 civilians were killed this week when bombs hit a UN-established refugee camp.
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