Number of people killed in Yemen six times greater than reported

28th Dec 2018
Number of people killed in Yemen six times greater than reported

(Photo: Almigdad Mojalli/ Voice of America)

Nadine Osman

The long-awaited United Nations announcement that Yemen’s warring factions had agreed on a ceasefire has been dampened by the shocking news that the number of people killed in the conflict stands at over 60,000 and not the 10,000 official figure widely reported.

Addressing the end of peace talks hosted at Rimbo, Sweden, on December 13, the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, cautioned that the ceasefire in the rebel-held port city of Hodeida is “just a beginning but at least it’s the beginning of a process.”

Researchers from Yemen for the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED) calculate that the actual death toll is staggeringly six times greater than reported and say over 33,068 people were killed in November alone, the highest monthly fatality figure yet.

ACLED Executive Director, Clionadh Raleigh, says their own 60,223 figure is astonishingly “still underestimated” as their coverage count starts from January 2016 and not from March 2015 when Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, began the Saudi intervention.

Andrea Carboni, a researcher on ACLED, says he estimated the figure to increase by 15,000 to 20,000 if the 2015 figures are included, increasing the overall figure for fatalities to between 75,000 and 80,000.

ACLED’s figures which were released on December 11, exclude the Yemenis who have died through illnesses caused by the war such as the cholera epidemic or starvation in what the United Nations branded one of the worst famines in decades.

The outbreak of cholera in Yemen began on October 2016 and by February and March 2017, the outbreak was in decline, but the number of cholera cases resurged after April 27, 2017, reportedly ten days after Yemen’s capital Sana’a’s sewer system stopped working.

The United Nations accused the Saudi-led coalition, backed by the US, the UK and others, of “complete disregard for human life” as the deliberate air strikes on Yemeni health, water and sanitation systems and facilities had devastated the infrastructure.

The Saudi-led coalition has previously been criticised by the United Nations for the mass number of civilian casualties inflicted by its air campaign. In January, the United Nations issued a report that said airstrikes hit various areas occupied by civilians, including a market, motel and residential buildings.

An investigation published by The Guardian in September 2016 found that one-third of coalition airstrikes landed on civilian targets.

The Saudi and UAE-led coalition has “played down” war-related fatalities in Yemen, say ACLED.

ACLED’s figures are extracted primarily from hundreds of news sites in Yemen and possible political bias of these sources is taken into account and different reports are cross-referenced using the most conservative numbers.

The steep increase in the number killed this year is explained by the Saudi and UAE-led assault on the port of Hodeidah on the Red Sea coast which is the main conduit for relief supplies reaching the Yemeni population.

This has led to a 68 per cent increase in the number killed in the first 11 months of this year, to 28,115, according to ACLED.

The number of those who have already died in Yemen may soon be far surpassed by the number likely to die because of hunger and disease. Some 20 million people are malnourished, 70 per cent of the population – and for the first time, 250,000 are facing “catastrophe”, according to the UN.

News of the ceasefire in Hodeidah coincided with the US Senate vote to end support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

The resolution was passed in the chamber 56-41. The bill was co-sponsored by Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah, gaining renewed momentum following Saudi Arabia’s murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

The co-sponsors had been working on the resolution for the past year, with only 44 Senators voting in favour of the bill in March. In November, 60 lawmakers voted to advance the debate of the bill in the Senate.

One Response to “Number of people killed in Yemen six times greater than reported”

buda atumDecember 28, 2018

Everyone is rather silent about this including you whom I’d have expected to yell louder. It’s a shameful pity!

Reply

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