YEMEN: ONE CHILD KILLED AND ELEVEN INJURED IN SHELLING ON A PLAYSPACE IN TAIZ
• Children suffered horrific injuries, including a four-year-old girl who lost parts of her face and a two-year-old boy who could be disabled for the rest of his life.
SANA'A, 24 July – A three-year-old boy was killed, and eleven children injured when a shell hit the street where they were playing in Taiz yesterday evening.
The three-year-old boy was treated in hospital for multiple shrapnel wounds to his legs and abdomen but died this morning due to the extent of his injuries. Another seven-year-old boy is still in critical condition while five other children are under medical observation. Most of the injuries were due to shrapnel hitting their head, neck, chest, abdomen, and legs.
Tamim* the father of a boy injured in the attack shared his concerns with Save the Children saying, "It's utterly disgraceful, our neighbourhood is relatively safe, and it was never bombed before. My children play here every day in the afternoon, and we think they are safe, especially now during the truce, but it seems there is no safe place for children in this country."
This incident comes as the four-month truce reaches its final week without any news of a renewal agreement. The number of child casualties due to the conflict has dropped significantly since the beginning of the truce but has seen an uptake in the past two months with 29 and 32 in July and June respectively, compared to 10 and 19 in April and May.
Save the Children's Country Director for Yemen, Rama Hansraj, said: "Attacking children is an appalling crime and should not be tolerated. Those responsible for this inexcusable violation must be held accountable. Children in Yemen have already lived through seven years of brutality, and they deserve to have a break and to live in peace and be protected from violence."
"Four months into the truce, and as children began to develop some sense of safety, they are bombed and killed. While a three-year-old child was killed, one of the children is only seven years old and is still in the ICU fighting for his life. Another four-year-old girl lost parts of her face, a nine-year-old girl has shrapnel in her neck, and a two-year-old boy might be left disabled for the rest of his life because of his injury. No child should have to deal with such unbearable cruelty."
Save the Children is calling on warring parties to respect International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law. Parties to the conflict must protect children and their families from the horror of the ongoing violence, avoid the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, and take immediate, practical measures to reduce their impact on homes, schools, hospitals and vital civilian infrastructure. It is also critical for parties to agree to an extension to the truce and fully adhere to the ceasefire to create a safe environment for children and their families.
Save the Children has been working in Yemen since 1963, implementing programmes in education, child protection, health and nutrition, water and sanitation, and emergency response across most of the country. Save the Children has responded to the incident providing the needed psychosocial support to the victims and their families, as well as any other specific needs required to strengthen their resilience and shorten the needed time to recover.
*Name has been changed to protect the identity of interviewee
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