Yemen Civilian Death Toll Reaches 646 – UN

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The conflict in Yemen has cost the lives of at least 646 civilians since a Saudi-led coalition began air raids against Houthi rebels who control much of the country, the UN said on Tuesday.

 

Some 131 children were among those killed since the start of the coalition air campaign on March 26, the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OCHCR) said.

 

The UN agency also warned that some three million Yemenis with disabilities are at risk, with some of them unable to flee to safer areas due to the impact of fuel shortages on transport services.

 

Three hundred organizations providing services to people with disabilities have closed and some disabled people are no longer receiving necessary medical treatment, the OCHCR said.

 

The warning comes a day after the Red Cross and Medecins Sans Frontieres slammed Saudi-led airstrikes on Sana’a and Hodeida airports, saying they had blocked vital food and aid supply routes.

 

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Monday mooted the possibility of humanitarian pauses to the air campaign, which is supported by Yemeni President Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi, now in exile in Riyadh.

 

But his remarks were overshadowed by the announcement that Senegal would contribute 2 100 troops to the Saudi-led coalition, further raising speculation about a possible ground assault.

 

Senegalese Foreign Minister Mankeur Ndiaye told parliament that the decision was aimed at combatting the threat posed by terrorism to Saudi Arabia and the Islamic shrines at Mecca and Medina, the Senegalese Press Agency reported on Monday evening.

 

The coalition has said it has no ground troops in Yemen, although local journalists in Aden say a detachment of Yemeni troops trained abroad arrived in the flashpoint southern city on Sunday to back up local militias fighting the rebels.

 

Saudi Arabia and Arab allies started their campaign after the Houthis, who have controlled the capital Sana’a since September, advanced on Hadi’s temporary capital at Aden, forcing him to flee the country.

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