Yemen civilian death toll in Saudi-led airstrike reaches 20

Yemen's children are suffering a man-made health catastrophe

Yemen's children are suffering a man-made health catastrophe

Geneva - At least 20 civilians have been killed in an airstrike in Yemen, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reported on Wednesday, as it highlighted the threat to internally displaced people in the war-torn country.

"The incident was reported on Tuesday afternoon and the number of civilian casualties are still being verified with initial reports pointing to at least 20 deaths", the agency said in statement.

The attack on Tuesday afternoon hit a group of civilians in the Mawza district of the southwestern province of Taez, a statement by the United Nations refugee agency said.

The civilians killed in the attack were refugees fleeing embattled Mawza district in Taiz governorate aboard a packed vehicle and were understood to be from the same family, UNHCR said.

Coalition-backed forces loyal to Yemen President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi recaptured the port of Mokha in February as part of a major ongoing offensive to drive rebels from Yemen's lengthy coastline.

The UNHCR has said that this attack "demonstrates the extreme danger facing civilians in Yemen, particularly those attempting to flee violence".

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The World Health Organisation estimates that more than 8,000 people have been killed in Yemen's conflict, majority civilians, since the intervention.

Save the Children has warned that if the United Nations fails to include Saudi-led coalition on this year's list, it will set a risky precedent for other conflicts around the world.

The Yemen-based al-Qaida branch, seen by the United States as the global terror network's most unsafe branch, has exploited years of deadly conflict between Yemen's government and Houthi rebels to expand its presence, especially in Shabwa and Abyan provinces. The fighting has pushed the Arab world's poorest country to the brink of starvation, and a cholera outbreak in recent months has killed more than 1,700 people.

"A peaceful political solution to resolve the conflict in Yemen is urgently needed to end civilian suffering", it said.

The Saudi coalition has placed an air and sea blockade on Yemen as it fights a war against the Houthi rebel movement, and effectively controls the country's airspace.

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