CAIRO (AP) — At least 47 children were killed or injured in war-torn Yemen in the first two months of 2022 as fighting escalated between government forces and the Houthi rebels, a U.N. official said on Saturday.
Yemen has been convulsed by civil war since 2014, when the Iran-backed Houthis took control of the capital, Sanaa, and much of the country’s north, forcing the government to flee to the south, then to Saudi Arabia.
A Saudi-led coalition entered the war in March 2015, backed by the U.S. and United Arab Emirates, to try restoring President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to power.
The fighting has escalated since the beginning of 2022 as the Saudi-led coalition stepped up its support to government ground forces to fend off a year-long Houthi offensive on the central city of Marib. The clashes have also intensified elsewhere in the Arab world's poorest country.
“Violence has continued to escalate this year and as always children are the first and most to suffer, said Philippe Duamelle, UNICEF representative to Yemen. “Just over the first two months of this year, 47 children were reportedly killed or maimed in several locations across Yemen.”
He called on all warring parties and their backers to protect civilians especially children whose “safety, their well-being and protection must be safeguarded at all times.”
Duamelle said the war killed or injured 10,200 children over the past seven years, adding that the actual tally is likely much higher.
The conflict has in recent years become a regional proxy war that has killed more than 150,000 people, including over 14.500 civilians, according to 2022 data from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Project.
It also created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.