10,000 civilians killed in Yemen conflict, says UN

10,000 civilians killed in Yemen conflict, says UN

SANAA, Yemen
10,000 civilians killed in Yemen conflict, says UN

AFP photo

The United Nations’ humanitarian aid official in Yemen said Jan. 16 that the civilian death toll in the nearly two-year conflict has reached 10,000, with 40,000 others wounded.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ Jamie McGoldrick told reporters the figure is based on lists of victims gathered by health facilities and the actual number might be higher, according to The Associated Press. This announcement marks the first time a U.N. official has confirmed such a high death toll in Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest nation. Earlier, the U.N. reported 4,200 civilians were killed in the war.

“This once more underscores the need to resolve the situation in Yemen without any further delay,” U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said in New York. “There’s been a huge humanitarian cost.”

The Yemen conflict pits Shiite Houthi rebels and allied forces against a Saudi-led coalition. The coalition began an air campaign in March 2015 to restore the internationally recognized government that fled the country after Houthis seized the capital.

McGoldrick’s remarks came as U.N. Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed arrived in the southern city of Aden, which the government of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi turned into a temporary capital, to hold talks with Hadi.

Ould Cheikh Ahmed was in Aden for the meeting that focused on a return to a cease-fire and to political talks to end the nearly two-year war, AFP reported.

Ould Cheikh Ahmed is hoping to revive peace prospects in Yemen after Hadi rejected his proposed roadmap. He is due to report to the U.N. Security Council later this month.

The roadmap provides for a new unity government in Yemen and a rebel withdrawal from the capital and other cities.

“A peace agreement, including a well-articulated security plan and the formation of an inclusive government, is the only way to end the war that has fueled the development of terrorism in Yemen and the region,” Ould Cheikh Ahmed said in a statement.

“I asked the president to act swiftly and engage constructively with the U.N.’s proposal for the sake of the country’s future.” 

“The current political stalemate is causing death and destruction every day. The only way to stop this is through the renewal of the cessation of hostilities followed by consultations to develop a comprehensive agreement.” 

Under the proposal, Hadi’s powers would be dramatically diminished in favor of a new vice president who would oversee the formation of the interim government that will lead a transition to elections.  

The envoy has been holding talks in the Gulf region in recent weeks, including in Riyadh, where he met with Yemen’s central bank governor to ease a cash crisis in rebel-held areas.