UNITED NATIONS, April 3 (UPI) -- Conflict in Yemen killed over 500 people in the past two weeks, the ranking United Nations relief aid official said.
Valerie Amos, U.N. Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, said in a statement Thursday that 519 have been killed and nearly 1,700 injured, over 90 of them children, since a Saudi-led coalition started airstrikes against Houthi rebels who have overtaken Yemen's government and military structure. She added thousands of refugees have fled westward and southward across the Gulf of Aden to Djibouti and Somalia, and supplies of electricity, water and medicine are running low.
"Those engaged in fighting must ensure that hospitals, schools, camps for refugees and those internally displaced and civilian infrastructure, especially in populated areas, are not targeted or used for military purposes," she said.
"Despite the grave dangers, United Nations agencies and humanitarian partners are coordinating with the Yemen Red Crescent and local authorities to deliver emergency health kits, generators so that people can get clean water, food and blankets. Before this recent escalation in the violence, millions of Yemenis were already extremely vulnerable. I hope that peace, security and stability will be restored as soon as possible."
Her comments came after the U.N. Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, called the situation in Yemen extremely alarming Tuesday. Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon made a similar statement later Tuesday. The airstrikes are part of a campaign to return exiled Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi to power; he, too, fled Yemen for Saudi Arabia.