Three civilians killed every day in Yemen, says Oxfam

By agency reporter
March 20, 2019

Three civilians are being killed every day in Yemen – which is one person every eight hours – despite agreements reached between the internationally recognised government and the Houthis at talks in Sweden just over three months ago.

In December 2018, the two parties agreed a ceasefire for the key port of Hudaydah, as well as a prisoner exchange, as the first steps towards negotiating peace in Yemen, where fighting escalated four years ago on 26 March 2015.

In the 11 weeks following the agreements, 231 civilians were killed across the country by airstrikes, shelling, snipers or landmines. A third of those killed were in Hudaydah governorate, despite the ceasefire there.

Fifty six of those killed were children – a number that would fill two classrooms in the average UK primary school. 

The civilian death toll has dropped in the wake of the UN sponsored talks in Sweden. The UN recently reported almost 100 civilians a week were being killed or injured in 2018. But it remains unacceptably high.

Muhsin Siddiquey, Oxfam’s Yemen Country Director, said: “Every day that passes without concrete progress towards peace, more Yemenis lose their lives and the suffering deepens for those struggling to find food and shelter amid the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.

“The backers of the warring parties are complicit in this man-made crisis; we call on them to stop arming the belligerents. They and the rest of the international community need to do all they can to help bring about a lasting peace in Yemen.”

Aside from fatalities, the war continues to take a toll on civilians in other ways. Millions of Yemenis are on the brink of famine due to the withering economy and the closure of key ports to vital food supplies. Oxfam recently met a family forced to make the difficult choice to marry off their three-year-old daughter so that her parents could use the money to buy food and shelter for other family members.

Siddiquey added: “Governments that continue to sell arms to any party to the conflict are prolonging and deepening the suffering of millions of Yemenis.

“The fighting needs to stop and the governments allowing arms sales for use in Yemen should instead focus their efforts on securing peace.”

* Oxfam International https://www.oxfam.org/en

[Ekk/6]

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.