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In Yemen, 400 Schools Damaged & 95 Destroyed by Airstrikes & Shelling: UNICEF

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 18 -- While the UN's envoy on Yemen has been reticent to speak of the impact of the airstrikes of the Saudi-led coalition as war crimes, a new report just issued by UNICEF has this to say: "Nearly 400 schools have been damaged due to shelling or airstrikes since the end of March, including 95 that have been completely destroyed."

  Such attacks on schools are war crimes. But this is not heard from the UN's replacement envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed. More from UNICEF, now more generic:

“This conflict is a particular tragedy for Yemeni children. Children are being killed by bombs or bullets and those that survive face the growing threat of disease and malnutrition. This cannot be allowed to continue,” UNICEF's Representative in Yemen Julien Harneis said about the report, Yemen: Childhood Under Threat.

   The numbers, which in the statement do not ascribe responsibility: Yemen: Childhood Under Threat outlines the different dimensions of the crisis facing children including at least 398 children killed and 605 injured as a result since the conflict escalated in March; children recruited or used in the conflict has more than doubled – from 156 in 2014 to 377 so far verified in 2015; 15.2 million people lack access to basic health care, with 900 health facilities closed since March 26; 1.8 million children are likely to suffer from some form of malnutrition by the end of the year; 20.4 million people are in need of assistance to establish or maintain access to safe water and sanitation due to fuel shortages, infrastructure damage and insecurity; and nearly 3,600 schools have closed down, affecting over 1.8 million children."

“We urgently need funds so we can reach children in desperate need. We cannot stand by and let children suffer the consequences of a humanitarian catastrophe,” UNICEF's Harneis said.

The UN Secretariat's bungling of Yemen mediation has become ever more clear, according to multiple sources and documents exclusively seen by Inner City Press, see below. Now things have hit a new low.

  The UN-announced "humanitarian pause" was entirely ignored by the Saudi-led coalition, which continued airstrikes including most recently one killing dozens of civilians in Mocha.

 Just after that, the Saudis themselves announced a five day pause. UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed as exposed by Inner City Press has been on vacation, as has his deputy Gluck, so the UN is uninvolved in this pause. But, Inner City Press asked in a July 25 article, how long until UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issues a statement welcoming and implicitly taking some credit for the announcement?

  More than 24 hours after that, Ban did in fact issue a statement, welcoming the Saudi announcement - already being violated - while referring only obliquely to "reports of civilian deaths in Mokha on Friday evening." But who might have caused those, more than 48 hours earlier?


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