This is the Civilian Impact Monitoring Project quarterly report, providing an overview of all incidents of armed violence reported in July, August and September 2020 across the country that had a direct civilian impact. The report covers civilian casualties, incident distribution, type of armed violence and impact upon civilian infrastructure, as well as providing key analytical takeaways from the quarter.
28% more civilians were killed by armed violence in Q3 2020 than in Q2 2020
Across the country, the number of incidents of armed violence reported to have directly impacted on civilians decreased from the previous quarter. However, the number of civilian casualties reported during Q3 2020 increased to 527, up 11% from Q2 2020, and the highest since Q3 2019. There were several factors responsible for the uptick in civilian casualties. The most significant increases were seen in Jawf, which saw a more than sixfold increase from Q2, driven by a high casualty count (52) from airstrikes, and in Ma’rib and Bayda, which together saw a 78% increase in civilian casualties, in line with the escalation in hostilities seen in southern Ma’rib along the border with Bayda and the accompanying uptick in airstrikes. By type of armed violence, the increase in civilian casualties can largely be attributed to airstrikes, sniper fire and UXO. Furthermore, the number of civilian fatalities saw a proportionately higher increase, up 28% to 215 in Q3, from 168 during Q2, and the highest toll reported since Q3 2019.
The number of civilian casualties caused by airstrikes doubled in Q3 2020
Twice as many civilians were killed and injured by airstrikes during Q3 than during Q2, up to 94 from 47. Having seen no civilian casualties on account of airstrikes during Q2, airstrikes resulted in 52 civilian casualties in Jawf during Q3; more than all other governorates combined. The high number was largely driven by two mass casualty incidents. On 15 July, 24 civilians were killed, including 6 children and 2 women, and 7 civilians were injured, including 5 children and 2 women, when airstrikes hit a house during a celebratory occasion in Al-Maraziq area in Khabb wa ash Sha’af district. Three weeks later, on 6 August, 9 children were killed and 12 civilians were injured, including 7 children and 4 women, when airstrikes hit 3 civilian vehicles in Al-Maatarah area in Khabb wa ash Shaaf. The civilians were reportedly hit while travelling to Eid festivities. A mass casualty airstrike incident was also reported in Hajjah on 12 July; 7 children and 2 women were killed and 2 children and 2 women were injured when airstrikes hit a house in Bayt Al-Qutayb in Washhah district.
Child casualties increased during Q3, particularly on account of airstrikes
135 child casualties were reported as a result of armed violence during Q3, 53 of whom were fatalities. This is a 61% increase in child fatalities on account of armed violence compared to Q2, when 33 children were killed by armed violence. Notably, five times as many children were killed or injured by airstrikes during Q3 than during Q2, up to 45 from 9. More children were killed or injured by airstrikes than by any other type of armed violence over the past three months. Conversely, the number of reported women casualties saw a decrease, dropping by 14% from 90 to 77, of whom 32 died. Despite the overall decrease, more than twice as many women (18) were killed or injured by airstrikes during Q3 than during Q2. This is also the highest number of women to be harmed by airstrikes in one quarter since Q2 2019. Resultantly, two thirds (63) of the 94 airstrike casualties in Q3 were women and children, an increase from Q2, when one third (16) of the 47 civilian casualties reported from airstrikes were women and children. The high casualty toll among women in Q2 was driven in large part by a shelling incident on the women’s section of Ta’izz Central Prison in Al-Mudhaffar, in which 8 women were killed and at least 26 injured.
Shelling continues to result in the most civilian casualties (one in three) in Q3 2020
Despite airstrikes causing more civilian casualties in Q3 than in Q2, for the eighth consecutive quarter shelling remained responsible for more civilian casualties across the country than any other type of armed violence, resulting in 172 civilian casualties; roughly a third (32%) of the total. Shelling was also responsible for almost half (204) of all 431 civilian impact incidents reported during Q3. The 172 civilian casualties it caused, however, marks a small decrease compared to the previous quarter, when shelling resulted in 185 civilian casualties. This is the eighth consecutive quarter to have seen this downward trend. It is also the third consecutive quarter to see a decrease in the proportion of casualties on account of shellfire, down from 38% in Q2 2020, 39% in Q1 2020, and 49% in Q4 2019. Moreover, half as many children were harmed by shellfire in Q3 2020 than in Q2 2020; 29, down from 60. The same was true for women; 57% fewer were harmed by shellfire in Q3 than Q2, down from 65 to 25. The decrease is likely largely on account of frontlines shifting away from residential areas: 27% fewer houses (765) were hit by shelling in Q3 than during Q2 (1,049), with the reduction most notable