Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Airstrikes in Yemen kill 23 factory workers, UN warns:Yemen is on the verge of collapse
The burning dairy factory in Hodaida (Photo Al-Watanye.net)
An air strike on Yemen's Red Sea port of Hodaida has killed 23 workers at a dairy factory, medical sources said, in what appears to be one of the biggest cases of civilian deaths in a Saudi-led campaign against Houthi rebels.
Residents near the Hodaida dairy factory said it was located near an army camp loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, while medical sources in the city said the casualties had all been workers at the plant. The strike on Tuesday night had also destroyed a fuel store, the residents told Reuters news agency.
The incident is part of an aerial campaign by Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Muslim states to stop Houthi fighters and former president winning control of the country and reinstating Saudi-backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. However, after seven nights of bombings targeting both the Houthis and forces loyal to Saleh, the coalition has not managed to secure Hadi's control over his last remaining enclave of rule in the southern port of Aden, a key aim of the campaign.
On the first night of bombardments 14 houses were destroyed near Sanaa airport. On the picture people are looking for suvivors.
The sound of gunfire and several large blasts were heard in Aden throughout the night, the Reuters news agency reported. Videos posted online, which could not be immediately confirmed, appeared to show fighting at an army base loyal to Saleh in the northeast of the city.
A raid at a coastal defence station at Maidi port in Hajja province north of Hodaida killed six soldiers, workers there said, while further strikes hit an army camp in Sanaa and a government facility in Saadeh in the north of Yemen.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein warned the country was "on the verge of total collapse"."The situation in Yemen is extremely alarming, with dozens of civilians killed over the past four days," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said on Tuesday. "The country seems to be on the verge of total collapse.''
Aid groups have warned of a humanitarian crisis unfolding with air and sea blockades making it impossible to send desperately needed assistance as casualties mount. The UN children's fund said that at least 62 children had been killed and 30 injured during the fighting over the past week. "Children are in desperate need of protection, and all parties to the conflict should do all in their power to keep children safe," said UNICEF's Julien Harneis. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said it had received more than 550 patients in the southern city of Aden since March 19. "We urgently need to find ways to get humanitarian relief and personnel inside the country," said MSF's Greg Elder.
Amnesty International accused the Saudi-led coalition of "turning a blind eye to civilian deaths" as it reported four children were among six burned to death in strikes on Ibb, in central Yemen. The UN has also criticised the deadly bombing of a camp for displaced people in north Yemen, saying it was a violation of international law.
"We have not identified who is responsible for this attack," UN spokesman Farhan Haq said. "Whichever forces are hitting them are in violation of the law, there should be accountability for that and ultimately all such attacks have to cease."