“Terrifying storm of bombs” in Yemen capital kills sleeping family

Sana’a, Yemen, 16 May 2019 – Hours after the UN Security Council heralded the success of the handover of Hodeidah port as a vital step in the peace process, intensive airstrikes launched on Sana’a this morning have shattered any glimmer of hope for peace in the near future. Says CARE’s Alexandra Hilliard in Sana’a:

We woke this morning to a terrifying storm of bombs in Sana’a. We heard later that one of the airstrikes hit a residential area. Almost a whole family was killed while they were sleeping, the small bodies of children being carried out of the rubble; just one little girl survived. It’s tragic to think that this family who went to sleep last night will never wake up again.

Thursday morning saw 19 airstrikes on Sana’a, leaving an estimated seven people dead – including four children – and 58 injured, including women. There have been 20,000 airstrikes in Yemen since the conflict escalated in March 2015. According to the UN, well over 200,000 people have been killed by fighting, malnutrition, disease and lack of basic services due to the war. A child dies every 12 minutes. Hilliard says:

As airstrikes, landmines and ground fighting continue to kill innocent people across Yemen, the peace process appears increasingly fragile. CARE urges all parties to the conflict to consider the enormous toll faced by the men, women and children of Yemen. That this has happened during Ramadan, the holiest month in the Muslim calendar, makes these attacks all the more horrifying.

Laurie Lee, CEO of CARE International UK, said:

We are calling on the British government to ensure that the UK is not saving lives with one hand through humanitarian aid, and contributing to the deaths of innocent civilians with the other, through arms sales and technical, logistical and training support to combatants.

When I was in Yemen recently, everyone I met just wanted the war to stop and they wanted other countries to stop sending arms and soldiers to Yemen. “Just uphold your own Arms Trade Treaty,” I was told. They mean the global Arms Trade Treaty, agreed at the UN and supported and ratified by the UK, which requires governments to halt exports of weapons if their use is leading to human suffering through violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws.

We call on the UK government to take active steps to urge all parties to the conflict to stop the fighting now and to agree to a lasting peace. As Rory Stewart takes on the role of Secretary of State for International Development it is a critical time for the UK to show global leadership on Yemen. It is vital that efforts towards peace are prioritised above everything else.

CARE has worked in Yemen since 1992 and is one of few international aid agencies continuing to deliver humanitarian services in Yemen. CARE staff are working tirelessly to ensure that people in the hardest-hit and most hard-to-reach areas have access to emergency supplies to help them meet their basic needs.

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