Civilian casualties in Yemen halved since start of truce

Renewable two-month truce took effect in April, providing rare respite from violence for much of the country

Tens of thousands of people were displaced from their homes in Yemen before the start of a UN-brokered truce between warring factions. EPA
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The number of civilian casualties in war-torn Yemen has dropped by more than 50 per cent since a two-month truce took effect in early April, an aid group said on Wednesday.

The Norwegian Refugee Council — which has been providing food, shelter and other necessities to mitigate what the United Nations has described as the world's worst humanitarian crisis — said civilian casualties totalled 95 in April, down from 213 in March, citing data from the Civilian Impact Monitoring Project.

“The figures provide clear proof of the benefits of the truce. During the last month, many families were spared from having their lives shattered by the loss of family members to a meaningless war,” NRC's Yemen country director Erin Hutchinson said in a statement.

“For the sake of the Yemeni people and their future, we hope the parties to the conflict will extend the truce.”

The Yemen conflict pits the internationally-recognised government, supported by a Saudi-led military coalition, against Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

The war has killed hundreds of thousands and pushed the Arab world's poorest country to the brink of famine.

But a renewable two-month truce that took effect on April 2 has provided a rare respite from violence in much of the country.

The NRC said there had been a “significant reduction” in the number of people killed or wounded by air strikes, shelling and gunfire.

However, it added that despite a sharp reduction in violence, the number of casualties from landmines and unexploded ordnance remained the same or higher.

“We urge the warring parties to adhere to their commitments and work to find a peaceful resolution to this conflict, which has already killed and maimed thousands, and deprived millions of their livelihoods,” Ms Hutchinson said.

“That people are still being injured and killed by landmines and improvised explosive devices shows the critical need for a long-lasting peace, so that these remnants of war can be removed and more lives saved.”

Updated: May 11, 2022, 10:41 AM