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Press Release

IRC calls for immediate ceasefire after 70 civilians killed by airstrike in Yemen

The IRC is appalled by the mass killing of civilians and targeting of the country’s internet infrastructure in Yemen last night. Over 70 people, including women and children, were reportedly killed, and over 100 people, mostly migrants who had been detained, injured in an airstrike in Saada, whilst separate airstrikes in Hodeidah severely damaged a critical telecommunications center and cut off internet across the country. This is yet another example of the age of impunity where all sides to the war continue to commit atrocities without accountability. We call on all parties to the conflict to respect International Humanitarian Law and uphold their obligations to protect civilians and public infrastructure. 

Stephanie Puccetti, Deputy Director for Programs for IRC in Yemen, said,

“Attacks on civilians are unacceptable. The latest airstrikes in Hodeidah have not only disrupted communications across the country but also damaged civilian infrastructure, including homes. We have heard reports that civilians have been injured and killed. It’s still too early to understand the full extent of the damage given the communication black out.

“Hodeidah has experienced years of active conflict. Hundreds of thousands of people are displaced and it is the only governorate in Yemen entirely classified as having a “catastrophic” level of need. Many families are already struggling to survive, and these latest airstrikes only compound an already devastating situation.

“IRC has been working in Hodeidah and other parts of Yemen for many years, supporting displaced and conflict-affected people with health, nutrition, water, and economic assistance. We call for an immediate de-escalation of violence across the country and request that all authorities ensure humanitarian actors’ safe and timely access to people in need. We ask the international community to support a scaled up humanitarian response in response to the growing crisis.”

The IRC has been working in Yemen since 2012 and rapidly scaled our programming in 2015 to address greater humanitarian needs caused by the conflict. While the ongoing conflict creates challenges for our operations, the IRC has maintained access to affected populations and continues to provide life-saving services, including treatment for malnutrition, healthcare, water and sanitation, cash assistance as well as case management services and education programming.

 

About the IRC

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and over 20 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.