Joint statement by the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen and the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, 1 September 2019 [EN/AR]

Mass casualties reported following air strikes in Dhamar Governorate

Sana’a, 1 September 2019 –On 1 September, air strikes hit a former community college compound on the northern outskirts of Dhamar City. According to sources on the ground, as many as 170 prisoners were being held in a detention facility within the compound.

Initial reports from health officials indicate that at least 60 people have been killed and 50 injured.
The Yemen UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has confirmed that 52 detainees are among the dead. At least 68 detainees are still missing. Casualties are most likely to increase as rescue efforts are still on going.

“Today’s event is a tragedy. The human cost of this war is unbearable. We need it to stop. Yemenis deserve a peaceful future. Today’s tragedy reminds us that Yemen cannot wait. I hope the Coalition will launch an enquiry into this incident. Accountability needs to prevail.” said Martin Griffiths, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen.

“This is a horrific incident,” said Ms. Lise Grande, Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen. “The scale of the casualties is staggering. We send our deepest condolences to families that are today grieving for their loved ones.” First responders have been struggling to reach the scene due to repeated strikes on the site. Survivors are believed to remain trapped under rubble and the search for further casualties continues.

“Humanitarian partners are rushing surgical and medical supplies, including trauma kits, to Dhamar General Hospital and Maaber Hospital. We are diverting critical medical supplies from the cholera response,” said Ms. Grande. "We have no choice.” “These are very dark times for Yemen,” said Ms. Grande. "There have been days of fighting and strikes in the south and hundreds of casualties,” said Ms. Grande. “It's obvious, and we say it again and again. The only way to end the killing and misery in Yemen is to end the conflict.” said Mr. Griffiths.

Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Nearly 80 per cent of the total population, 24.1 million people, requires some form of humanitarian assistance and protection. Ten million people are a step away from famine and starvation and 7 million people are malnourished.

The 2019 Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan (YHRP) requires US$4.2 billion to assist more than 20 million Yemenis including 10 million people who rely entirely on humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs every month. As of today, the YHRP is 34 per cent funded. At the High-Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen convened by the UN Secretary -General in February 2019, the United Nations and humanitarian partners were promised $2.6 billion to meet the urgent needs. To date, less than half of this amount has been received. Humanitarian agencies are appealing to donors to provide funds as quickly as possible.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.