62 Yemeni children killed in fighting: UN

Geneva, April 1 (IANS/AKI): At least 62 children have been killed and 30 injured during fighting between Shia Houthi rebels and a Saudi-led coalition backing the government, according to the UN Children’s Fund (Unicef).

The fighting is severely damaging basic health services and education, while violence and displacement are leaving children terrified, the Unicef said in a statement on Tuesday.

Children are in desperate need of protection, and all parties to the conflict should do all in their power to keep children safe, said Julien Harneis, Unicef Yemen representative speaking from Jordan’s capital Amman.

Widespread food insecurity, severe acute malnutrition and increased rates of child recruitment is intensifying amid the escalating violence and the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation, Unicef stated.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein warned on Tuesday that Yemen was on the verge of total collapse.

He condemned a coalition airstrike on the al-Mazrak camp for internally displaced people in northern Yemen on Monday, which left at least 19 dead.

Al-Hussein also condemned attacks by rebels and allied army units on three hospitals.

At least 93 civilians were killed during the first five days of the air campaign launched last week by a 10-nation coalition, the UN said.

The coalition says it intends to protect and defend the legitimate government of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi.

Hadi fled abroad last week after Houthi rebels advanced towards the city of Aden, where he had taken refuge after the rebels took full control of the capital Sanaa in January and placed him under house arrest.