Doctors Without Borders said that Saudi-led airstrikes killed more than 65 civilians early Friday in Yemen’s southwest province of Taiz, including 17 people from one family.
If confirmed, it would be one of the largest tolls from airstrikes by Saudi Arabia and its military coalition partners since they began bombing Yemen five months ago in a campaign to crush the Houthi insurgency in the country, the Arab world’s poorest.
A statement posted on the website of Doctors Without Borders, the international medical charity that works in many conflict zones, said the bombings left extensive damage in the area, with a population of 600,000.
“Those who survived the bombings are searching through the rubble with their bare hands in the hope of finding survivors, as well as the bodies of victims of the attack,” Salah Dongu’du, the Doctors Without Borders coordinator in Taiz, said in the statement.
He said many survivors, as well as the charity’s staff, had been unable to reach the seven hospitals still functioning in the area, which originally had 20.
“These seven hospitals are totally overwhelmed with wounded patients and have run out of essential medication,” he said.
There was no immediate comment from the Saudi authorities on the airstrikes.
More than 4,000 people have been killed in Yemen since the Saudi-led coalition began its bombing campaign against the Houthis, whom Saudi Arabia have described as a proxy force of Iran, its regional rival.
Earlier this week Amnesty International accused all sides in the Yemen conflict of indiscriminate attacks on civilians that amount to war crimes and called on the United Nations to establish a panel of inquiry to document them.
Relief agencies have said the Yemen crisis has become one of the world’s most acute humanitarian disasters, with 80 percent of the population in urgent need of emergency help.
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(via NY Times)