Deadly gas station blasts in central Yemen kill two and wound dozens

Huge explosions cause carnage at Al Baydha depot where dozens were queuing in desperation for petrol

Houthi troops ride on the back of a police patrol truck after participating in a Houthi gathering in Sanaa, Yemen February 19, 2020. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

Two people have been killed and 70 others injured by two massive blasts at a gas station in Al Baydha, central Yemen on Saturday.

The explosions were triggered by a burning car in a nearby garage, Dr Mohamed Al Qaisi, a hospital manager based in the city, told The National.

Dr Al Qaisi described how the blasts sparked a huge conflagration at the same time dozens of people were queuing up for gas.

Severe gas and fuel shortages in Houthi-controlled northern Yemen have caused panic buying and long queues at petrol stations, which exacerbated the severity of incident, Dr Al Qaisi said.

He revealed that eight of the 70 people injured were in a "very critical condition" and had been transferred to the region's largest city, Sanaa, to receive treatment.

“The other [injured parties] were taken to several hospitals and healthcare centres in Al Baydha to be treated,“ he said.

The gas station rocked by the eruptions was built after the Houthi militia took control of Al Baydha in 2015.

"[It] was set up in a crowded street, which includes car garages, a governmental bank and blocks of residences," an anonymous Al Baydha local told The National.

The leadership of the anti-Houthi Public Resistance has accused the Houthi militia of being responsible for the incident.

"[They] must be held accountable because they allowed the owner of the gas station to set it up amid a busy residential street," spokesperson Mustafa Al Baydani told The National.

Long queues of motorists waiting for fuel have been gathering daily in the Houthi-held capital of Sanaa since the beginning of the last week.

Residents told The National that the severe fuel and gas shortages were reportedly caused by pro-Houthi traders hoarding fuel and blocking gas shipments to raise prices.

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