Fighting in war-torn Yemen over the weekend has left more than 20 civilians dead and almost two dozen injured, the United Nations said Monday.
Citing medical reports, the U.N. office in Yemen said that strikes on residences in the country’s northern Hajjah Governorate have killed 22 people, including 10 women and 12 children, with as many as 30 people injured, half of whom are under the age of 18.
“We condemn these deaths and injuries unequivocally,” said Lise Grande, the U.N.’s humanitarian coordinator for Yemen. “And we share our deep condolences with the families of the victims.”
Hajjah is one of the worst impacted areas in a country that the U.N. has called the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis” from the ongoing civil war between the Saudi-backed government forces and Houthi rebels.
More than a million people are without food in the province as it struggles with a cholera outbreak that has seen thousands of newly reported cases.
The two warring sides have been swapping blame over the casualties from the weekend with the Houthi-aligned Al Masirah TV network saying Monday that the Saudi-UAE coalition is responsible for 23 civilian’s dead in Hajjah while the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya TV channel claimed the Houthis killed Harjour tribe members who are attempting to repel the advancing Houthis, Al Jazeera reported.
The Houthis have argued that the Harjour uprising is being fueled arms being funneled to them by Saudi Arabia, which has intensified fighting in the governorate’s Kushar district, the International Crisis Group said last Friday.
The U.N. did not say who was responsible, only that it is attempting to get aid and supplies to the thousands of civilians trapped between the warring sides.
“We’re doing everything we can to reach the people who need help in Hajjah and throughout the country,” Grande said. “We’re distributing emergency supplies and helping people to access safe drinking water and we’ve dispatched emergency Mobile Medical Teams.”
The civil war, which began in 2015, has displaced some 3 million people in the country and an estimated 22.2 million people, or 75 percent of the country, is in some need of humanitarian assistance, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
“We desperately want to help people but we are facing serious problems. We need access, visas, specialized equipment and approvals for our programmes,” said Grande. “We are asking all parties to the conflict to help us do our life-saving work.”