At least 47 children were “killed or maimed” in Yemen’s civil war in January and February following a surge in violence, the United Nations children’s fund said on Saturday.
Children are the “first and most to suffer”, UNICEF said, adding that at least 10,000 minors have been killed or injured since 2015, when the Saudi-led military alliance launched air raids in the Middle East’s poorest country.
The military intervention came after Houthi rebels captured the capital, Sanaa, and large parts of northern Yemen forcing the internationally recognised President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee.
“Just over the first two months of this year, 47 children were reportedly killed or maimed in several locations across Yemen,” Philippe Duamelle, UNICEF representative to Yemen, said in a statement.
“Since the conflict escalated in Yemen nearly seven years ago, the UN verified that more than 10,200 children have been killed or injured. The actual number is likely much higher.”
Hundreds of thousands of people have died as a direct or indirect consequence of Yemen’s war between the Iran-backed Houthi rebels and government forces backed by the Saudi-led military coalition.
The conflict has caused a collapse in basic services such as healthcare and education, with millions of people displaced and 80 percent of the population dependent on aid.
More than 2,500 schools are unusable, according to UNICEF, as they have been destroyed, converted for military purposes, or used to shelter the displaced.