Landmines and unexploded ammunitions have been the biggest killers of children the Middle Eastern country since a ceasefire was announced in April this year between government forces and Houthi rebels.
By Vatican News staff writer
Landmines continue to kill and injure civilians, and especially children, in war-torn Yemen, despite a truce in April this year between Saudi Arabia-supported government forces and Iran-backed Huthi rebels, which has allowed to reduce significantly the overall number of war casualities.
Victims aged between 10 and 15
In the latest incident, four children were killed this week in the Huthi-controlled western city of Hodeida after one of them stepped on a landmine. A local medical source told AFP that a group of seven children were walking through an empty lot near the airport of the Red Sea city, an area where mines pose a constant threat to civilians, when the tragedy struck on Thursday. Three of them were killed on the spot while the fourth child died in hospital. The victims were aged between 10 and 15.
Landmines the biggest killers of children in Yemen
Since the ceasefire took effect in April after seven years of conflict, the number of war-related casualties has fallen significantly in Yemen. However, incidents related to landmines and unexploded weapons have have not reduced. Children are particularly vulnerable due to their natural curiosity and to lower risk awareness. Indeed landmines and unexploded ammunitions have been the biggest killers of children in Yemen since the truce began.
According to data released recently by Save the Children, they were responsible for over 75% of all war-related casualties among children, killing and injuring more than 42 between April and the end of June.
The latest upsurge of deaths in Yemen from these weapons is believed to be the result of families moving to previously inaccessible areas following the decrease in hostilities.
Save the Children’s appeal
In a recent appeal, Save the Children urged warring parties to speed up and fully engage in all efforts to clear existing mines and unexploded ordnance and to take immediate, practical measures to reduce the increasing impact of these explosives. The child rights agency also called donors to support the scale-up and provision of technical equipment necessary for the marking and clearance of unexploded ordinance and mines so that children and their communities are aware of the risk and better able to mitigate it in safe manners.
“Children in Yemen have endured mind-boggling violence and immense suffering for too long, and unless the warring parties and donor community prioritize the protection of children, the grim legacy of war will haunt them for years to come”, said Save the Children’s Country Director for Yemen, Rama Hansraj.
Source: Vatican News