At least 55 people, including women and children have been killed in Yemen's port city of Hodeidah after air raids were carried out by a Saudi Arabia and UAE alliance against Houthi rebel fighters. The number of wounded was atleast 102 and likely to go up. The figures were released by the Houthi rebel-run health ministry.
In a statement issued late on Thursday, the ministry said the air attacks targeted the city's public al-Thawra Hospital and a busy fishing port area. Due to the nature of the location of the targets the number of casualty is likely to go up. China’s Xinhua news agency was already reporting that up to 70 people may have been killed in the Saud-led air raids.
The International Red Cross, which supports the al-Thawra hospital, said it sent surgical supplies that will be enough to treat up to 50 patients who are in critical condition.
Taha al-Mutawakil, the Minister for Public Health and Population in the Houthi-led administration, said "What we have seen in Hodeidah is a heinous crime," according to the Houthi-run SABA news agency saying. He added that United States shared responsibility for the deaths.
With logistical support from the U.S., Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been carrying out attacks inside Yemen since March 2015 in an attempt to reinstate the internationally recognised government of President Abu-Rabbu Mansour Hadi who was overthrown by fighters from the Houthi tribe. The Houthis consider the Mansour Hadi government a puppet of Saudi Arabia and not representative of Yemenis’ aspirations.
The resulting battle for Yemen has claimed the lives of 10,000 people till date and a Saudi-imposed embargo on Yemen has led to more than 100,000 children dying from extreme hunger and starvation.
The UN has initiated peace talks to try to bring the violence to a halt. The peace talks are also aimed at slowing the Saudi-led siege of the vital port city of Hodeidah. Saudi-led pro-government forces have commenced attacks on Yemen’s vital commercial hub, in a bid to seize it and cut off remaining supplies to Sanaa from the outside world. The United Nations has warned of a resulting humanitarian catastrophe that could take 250,000 lives.
The UN warned had also warned in May that 22 million Yemenis were dependent on humanitarian assistance or protection -- over eight million of whom are at risk of starvation. Another 10 million lives could be at risk by the end of the year.
Human Rights Watch has accused the Saudi-led campaign of 85 instances of unlawful airstrikes -- a charge that the coalition has denied. A few months ago, locals said, an airstrike hit a nearby gas station, as part of an alleged campaign to limit the fuel supply to the capital.