YEMEN: Dozens of young children among the dead in Saada attack

Thursday 9 August 2018

Save the Children calls for immediate and independent investigation into recent attacks on civilians

Dozens of children aged between 6 and 14 are feared dead with many more injured, after the school bus they were travelling in was hit by a suspected airstrike in the town of Dhahyan in Saada governorate in northern Yemen.

Our staff are telling us that the pupils were on their way back to school from a picnic when the driver stopped to get a drink. That’s when the attack happened, while the bus was stationary. We are unable to verify the details at this moment.  

Save the Children condemns this horrific attack and is calling for a full, immediate and independent investigation into this and other recent attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, like schools and hospitals. We have seen a worrying rise in these incidents and no action has been taken to hold the perpetrators to account.   

The capital Sanaa has also seen heavy fighting over the past 24 hours, with reports of airstrikes near our office forcing our staff to suspend all activity and seek immediate shelter. 

Sylvia Ghaly, Director of Advocacy in Yemen, Save the Children, said:

“This is yet another example of the blatant violations of international humanitarian law that we have seen in Yemen over the past three years – from indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks on civilians, denial of access to humanitarian aid and the use of starvation as a weapon of war – it’s the people of Yemen, not the warring parties, who are paying the ultimate price. This is why we need an independent investigation into attacks on civilians so that perpetrators can be held to account.”

“There is no military solution to this conflict. Only a political solution can bring the war to an end and reinstate peace in Yemen. We urge all parties to agree to an immediate cessation of hostilities, return to the negotiation table to commit to a ceasefire and cooperate with the UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths. Spare the Yemeni people more death and misery.”




Spokespeople available in Sanaa and London. Please contact:

Natasha Dos Santos,, +44 7787 191957

Out-of-hours,, +44 7831 650409




  • Saada has been the most heavily bombed governorate in Yemen since the Saudi-led air campaign began in March 2015, according to the Yemen Data Project.

  • Save the Children works in Saada governorate where we provide the following services:

    • Ensuring children are protected through case management, Child Protection Committees and psychosocial support.

    • Running a Feeding Programme for children under five and pregnant women, through both fixed health facilities and mobile teams.

    • Screening, treating, and referring children with malnutrition.

    • Supporting and rehabilitating healthcare facilities, training health workers, and providing medical supplies to health centres.

    • Training Community Health Workers to treat the common diseases which endanger children such as diarrhoea, pneumonia and malaria.

    • Preventing and treating cholera through Diarrhoea Treatment Centres and Oral Rehydration Therapy corners

    • Providing cash transfers to vulnerable families to help them buy food and other essentials

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