Yemen: ICRC concerned at civilian casualties amid escalating violence

26 March 2015

The ICRC in Yemen, worried by the recent escalation of violence in the country, expressed concern on Thursday at reports of civilian casualties following air strikes in the capital Sana'a and other parts of the country. Ordinary Yemenis – already hit hard by years of conflict – are now enduring the effects of this escalation.

"All parties involved in the current round of violence are bound by the rules governing the conduct of hostilities," said Cedric Schweizer, who heads the ICRC delegation in Yemen.

Under international humanitarian law, all countries taking part in coalition military operations, as well as the Yemeni armed forces and armed groups, must comply with the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution, and must strive to avoid harm to civilians and damage to civilian objects.

The ICRC also called on all those involved in the conflict to show respect for human life, to treat detainees correctly and to help ensure that the wounded have access to the medical care they require. Medical facilities must be safeguarded, and may not be attacked.

In recent days, the ICRC, working closely with the Ministry of Public Health and Population, has donated triage tents to Al-Joumhouria Hospital in Aden, which will speed up the assessment and referral of patients for proper treatment. Medicines and other supplies have also been donated. To date the hospital reports receiving 40 wounded people.

In Taiz, violent demonstrations reportedly left 8 dead and over 140 injured. There the ICRC has provided a war-wounded kit containing medical supplies to treat between 50 and 70 patients.

As the situation unfolds, supplies are being readied for delivery to health facilities in Al-Dhale' and Lahij, which have both been affected by violence.

In Sana'a, in response to the Al-Hoshoosh and Badr mosque bombings that killed at least 140 people and injured 340, the ICRC provided two war-wounded kits and other medical supplies to the three hospitals dealing with most of the casualties.

The ICRC, with its 300-strong team in Sana'a, Sa'ada, Taiz and Aden, stands ready to respond to the most pressing humanitarian needs and to act as a neutral intermediary. It is also coordinating emergency response closely with the Yemen Red Crescent Society.

For further information, please contact:
Marie Claire Feghali, ICRC Sana'a, tel: +967 73 607 19 67, +967 71 194 4343
Sitara Jabeen, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 24 78 or +41 79 536 92 31