Middle East

Yemen conflict: Over 115 children killed in month - UN

A Yemeni man holds a picture depicting a child riding a horse and claiming the child was killed in a Saudi air strike, in Sanaa, Yemen, 26 March 2015 Image copyright EPA
Image caption A Yemeni man holds up a picture of a child he said was killed in an air strike in the capital

At least 115 children have been killed and 172 maimed in a month of fighting and air strikes in Yemen, the UN children's agency Unicef says.

About half were killed by coalition bombing, the agency said, and others by mines, gunshots, and shelling.

The Saudi-led coalition has continued air strikes on rebel forces, despite announcing the end of its air campaign.

Houthi rebels and allied forces have been fighting forces allied to the government for several months.

Saudi Arabia and allied Arab states have been carrying out air strikes since March with the declared aim of restoring exiled President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi.

The UN said on Friday that at least 551 civilians had been killed in the conflict - more than half the overall estimated death toll.

"There are hundreds of thousands of children in Yemen who continue to live in the most dangerous circumstances," Julien Harneis, Unicef's Yemen representative, said.

"The number of child casualties shows clearly how devastating this conflict continues to be for the country's children," he added.

A Unicef spokesman in Geneva said the agency believed its figure of 115 was a conservative estimate.

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Media captionYemeni people in Sanaa explain how the ongoing conflict is destroying their city and affecting their daily lives

Johannes van der Klaauw, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, warned that the country's escalating conflict had put its health system at "imminent risk of collapse".

Mr Van der Klaauw said the violence had disrupted supplies of food, fuel, water and electricity across the country and left an estimated two million children unable to attend school.

He called on all parties in the conflict to facilitate the safe passage of aid to civilians.

The UN estimates that more than 150,000 people have been displaced by the violence in Yemen.

The Saudi-led bombing campaign is targeting Yemen's Houthi rebels, who have captured swathes of the country, and their allies.

It declared an end to the aerial phase of its campaign on Tuesday, but has continued to launch air strikes since.