Civilian casualties in Yemen’s strategic western port city of Hodeidah have soared since June, when a Saudi- and UAE-led coalition began an offensive to retake the area from Houthi rebels, Save the Children said Monday.
Citing data from monitoring group ACLED, Save the Children said there were 349 civilian deaths in the Red Sea city between June and August, out of 685 across the entire country.
The monthly death toll in the city during the three-month period was also up 164% from the first five months of the year.
The NGO said children were among those most vulnerable to the spike in violence.
“Battles are being fought in densely populated urban areas and children end up trapped on the frontline, risking death or life-changing injuries. Attacks on schools and hospitals are up — safe spaces that should never be targeted. This is a War on Children,” said Helle Thorning-Schmidt, CEO of Save the Children International.
The group called on world leaders meeting in New York on Monday for the UN General Assembly to help bring an end to the violence.
“The international community gathered here in New York needs to put pressure on the warring parties in Yemen to come to the negotiating table in good faith and agree to a comprehensive and immediate ceasefire. Ultimately, only a political solution can end this crisis,” Thorning-Schmidt explained.
The war in Yemen began in 2014 when the Iran-backed Houthis captured swathes of territory, including the capital Sanaa.
In March 2015, the Saudi-led coalition of Gulf Arab states began launching airstrikes against Houthi targets to back the internationally-recognised government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.