According to the United Nations’ humanitarian affairs office, at least 10,000 people have been killed since the beginning of the war in Yemen in March 2015. The figure shows an urgent need to negotiate solutions from both sides in order to end almost two years of sharp conflict.
Yemen is already the poorest country in the Arab world. UN officials consider that almost 80% of the population, around 19 million people, are in need of humanitarian aid. Furthermore, another 3 million have been displaced.
However, the devastation of Yemen has been widely ignored by the international community, and thus the United Nations urges states to focus on the “huge humanitarian cost” of the war in this country.
The air raid on Saturday, which hit a funeral with thousands of mourners in Yemen’s rebel-held capital, Sana’a, killed 140 and left 525 people wounded. It was one of the deadliest attacks of the country’s civil war since the Saudi-led coalition started a campaign of airstrikes against the Houthi-Saleh alliance in March 2015.
The conflict in the country broke out in 2014 when rebels known as the Houthis took the capital by force and sent the government into exile. The Houthis are allied with army units loyal to a former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, and they have been struggling for control of the country against groups that are loyal to the current president, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who is supported by Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf allies.
The airstrikes on Saturday came after a period of escalation since August, when the last round of peace talks definitely broke down. The last attack seems to impede any return to talks aimed at ending the conflict, while stimulating support in northern Yemen for military escalation against Saudi Arabia. Instability and uncertainty rule the country at the moment.
The attack has been condemned by the UN, the European Union and the United States. The US, like the UK and other European countries, supplies arms to Saudi Arabia and practical military advice. After the last attack’s repercussion, the White House issued a statement affirming that it had begun an “immediate review” of its support for Saudi Arabia in Yemen “to better align with U.S. principles, values and interests”.