The latest Saudi coalition attacks came in the face of demands issued by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child for the coalition to stop its deadly airstrikes against civilian targets in Yemen.
HODEIDA,YEMEN-– Saudi Arabia and its allied coalition launched a second major military campaign against the heavily-populated cities of Tuheita and Dreihimi in Yemen’s Hodeida province on Thursday, leaving scores of civilians dead and a major hospital in ruins.
The coalition’s latest attacks come amid a worsening famine in Yemen, a famine that has hit Hodeida especially hard and has left thousands of families across Yemen without food, forcing some to eat the leaves off of trees and even their family pets in an attempt to stave off starvation.
Coalition aircraft carried out more than 40 airstrikes on Dreihimi. The al-Dreihimi General Hospital and the adjoining Maternity and Children’s Hospital, as well as at least one ambulance, were struck. Dozens of civilians, including hospital patients, were killed in the attacks. A family was also killed on Friday when a coalition airstrike targeted their home inside the city.
The coalition’s airstrikes also destroyed vital infrastructure in the area — including water pumps, electric generators, and solar energy systems — leaving thousands of residents, including internally displaced families, without clean drinking water.
According to statements given to MintPress by local residents and medical sources, and later confirmed by Yemen’s Human Rights Ministry, the first airstrikes took place as the wounded, visitors, and patients in the maternity ward were inside. Patients wounded in the attack then had to be transferred to the homes of nearby residents.
Yemen’s Ministry of Public Health and Population said that the al-Dreihimi General Hospital and the adjoining Maternity and Children’s Hospital were completely destroyed in the attack, as was an ambulance donated to the hospital by the World Health Organization earlier this year. The Ministry stated:
Ambulances and medical personnel are still unable to reach the area due to ongoing attacks by Apache helicopters that target everything that moves. We do not know how many people have been killed or wounded so far.”
A long, brutal siege, but no Saudi progress
Dreihimi has been under suffocating siege for the past three months; there are no humanitarian corridors to allow civilians to flee or ambulance crews to transport the wounded. In fact, all entries to the district, which lies about 20 km from the Red Sea port city of Hodeida, have been difficult to traverse since the war began.
Twenty-nine-year-old Yahya, a local resident and father to two, told MintPress:
We’ve been trapped in our homes for three months; we cannot move anywhere; the city is constantly being targeted by airstrikes, rocket attacks and artillery without discrimination. If we do not die from the raids we will die of hunger or disease.”
This is the second major attack on Dreihimi since the Saudi military campaign against Hodeida began three months ago. In June, coalition forces attempted to overrun the city but were blocked by fierce resistance put up by local residents supported by fighters from Ansar Allah (Houthis).
Three months and hundreds of casualties later, the coalition is no closer to achieving its goals than it was when it began its deadly attack against the port cities. Current clashes are concentrated at the entrances of Dreihimi, where hundreds of military armored vehicles, mercenary forces, and coalition aircraft have focused their attacks.
The Saudi coalition attacks came in the face of demands issued by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child for the coalition to stop its deadly airstrikes against civilian targets in Yemen.
On Thursday, the panel — which includes 18 independent experts — confirmed that Yemeni children were being killed, maimed and orphaned by the Saudi-led military coalition, adding that the coalition had conducted attacks on civilian targets in Yemen — including on homes, medical facilities, schools, farms, weddings, and markets — in violation of international law.
In August, Saudi airstrikes hit a school bus in the north of the country, killing more 50 children and injuring 79. MintPress published footage and images of the attack, which showed pieces of a U.S.-made bomb used in the attack.
The U.S.-backed military campaign has not only affected children. Civilians across Yemen have suffered immensely from the ongoing war, which has left thousands of civilians dead, destroyed the country’s infrastructure, and created the conditions for the world’s worst famine and cholera epidemic.
Top Photo | A victim of Saudi Arabia’s attack on the al-Dreihimi Hospital shown. Photo | Ansar Allah Media Center
Ahmed AbdulKareem is a Yemeni journalist. He covers the war in Yemen for MintPress News as well as local Yemeni media.