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Sole strike survivor, 5, helps open world’s eyes to Yemen crisis

Orphaned girl has shone a light on a forgotten conflict.

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Sole strike survivor, 5, helps open world’s eyes to Yemen crisis

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A five-year-old girl who survived an airstrike in Yemen that killed her parents and siblings has become an emblem of the humanitarian crisis in the Middle Eastern country.

Buthaina Muhammad Mansour was pulled from the rubble of an apartment building in Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, on August 25 following the Saudi-led strike.

The sole survivor of her immediate family, she escaped the bombing with a fractured skull and severe bruising that sealed her eyes closed.

When local reporters later interviewed the injured orphan from her hospital bed, she brought her hand to her face and forced one of her eyes open to see who was speaking.

The moment, captured on camera, has sparked a social media campaign, with scores of people sharing photographs of themselves mimicking the gesture to show solidarity with civilians affected by the conflict between the Saudi-backed military coalition and the Houthi rebels.




According to UN figures released this week, more than 1,100 children have been killed in Yemen since March 2015, most in Saudi-led airstrikes, in an “entirely man-made catastrophe”.

In a statement published by the state-run Saudi Press Agency, Saudi Arabia acknowledged responsibility for the August 25 strike but said it resulted from a “technical error”.

Back in Yemen, Buthania is now recovering from her injuries and adjusting to a new life in the care of her aunt and uncle, unaware that her story is opening the world’s eyes to the conflict that killed her family