The death toll in Yemen has reached over 91,600 according to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED). The ACLED records that 4,500 direct civilian targeting events resulted in 11,700 recorded civilian fatalities since the US-Saudi led coalition invaded Yemen in 2015. Around 67% of all reported civilian fatalities since 2015 have been caused by US-Saudi led coalition airstrikes.
2018 was the deadliest year on record since the war started in 2014 according to data provided by ACLED. The uptick in violence has been attributed to the United Arab Emirates offensive against the port of Hodeidah. Clashes between the Houthis who controlled Hodeidah at the time and forces backed by the United Arab Emirates led to the most intense violence to date in the Yemen conflict. The port of Hodeidah is one of the most important ports in the entire country because 80% of the aid imported into Yemen comes through the port of Hodeidah.
The violence in the port of Hodeidah became so bad that it garnered international attention resulting in the Stockholm Agreement, but this did not halt the violence. Intense fighting continued throughout Ad Dali, Hajjah, and Taiz while the fighting slowed in Hodeidah because of the Stockholm Agreement. According to ACLED, there was only a slight decrease in civilian fatalities during this ceasefire.
Although the port of Hodeidah is the city in Yemen that got the most attention from the international community with a death toll of almost 10,000, the Taiz governorate on the other hand, has nearly double the fatalities that Hodeidah has with 18,419 total fatalities – including 2,282 civilian fatalities – making the Taiz governorate the deadliest governorate in all of Yemen, yet there were no calls from the international community for a ceasefire in Taiz.
“Around 67% of all reported civilian fatalities in Yemen since 2015, resulting from direct targeting, have been caused by Saudi-led coalition airstrikes, making the Saudi-led coalition the actor most responsible for civilian deaths. As the graph below demonstrates through the spikes between 2015-2016 and at the end of 2018, air and drone strikes were especially deadly for civilians in 2015 and during the Hodeidah offensive in 2018.” – ACLED
The Houthi Rebels are not innocent in this conflict by any means and have cause nearly 2,000 civilian deaths since the conflict started in 2014. The Houthis are known to have planted over 1 million land and sea mines throughout Yemen making Yemen the “most mined nation since World War II.” Before the first Saudi air-raid on March 25th, 2015 citizens in Yemen rejected the Houthi movement and protested against the Houthis in the streets of Yemen. This anger quickly shifted to Saudi Arabia as they began to indiscriminately target civilians with airstrikes.
According to data gathered by ACLED and the Yemen Data Project, there were 17,100 deaths reported in 2015, 15,100 in 2016, and 16,800 in 2017. The next year the number of deaths in this conflict nearly doubled going from 16,800 to 30,800 reported fatalities in 2018 making 2018 the deadliest year to date in Yemen. We are nine months into 2019 and there have been 11,900 fatalities in Yemen this year alone.
There is currently a bipartisan push in the House of Representatives to stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia and to end all U.S. involvement in operations in Yemen. A similar effort led by Bernie Sanders (D) and Mike Lee (R) passed a vote in both the Senate and the House earlier this year but the bill was vetoed by President Donald Trump. With 91,600 human beings killed in this conflict, the humane thing to do is to stop sending bombs to Yemen and start sending humanitarian aid. The Houthi Rebels alleged “Iranian influences”, Al Qaeda or ISIS are not valid excuses to bomb one of the poorest nations in the world with no regard for human life, this is not a political issue nor a matter of US national security this is about human rights and one of the worst man-made humanitarian catastrophes in recorded history.
You can read ACLED’s full press release here.
Joziah Thayer is a researcher with the Pursuance Project. He founded WEDA in 2014 to combat mainstream media narratives. He is also an antiwar activist and the online organizer behind #OpYemen. This article was originally published on his website and is reprinted with permission.