|GENEVA, Dec.20,2017-- At least 136 civilians and non-combatants have been killed in air strikes led by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen since Dec. 6, the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said Tuesday.
"We are deeply concerned at the recent surge in civilian casualties in Yemen as a result of intensified air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition, following the killing of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sana'a on Dec. 4," said Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the UN rights office, at a media briefing.
The Saudi-led coalition carried out seven air strikes on Dec. 13 that struck a military police compound in the Shaub district of Sana'a and also hit a prison building, and then the prison yard, killing at least 45 people and injuring 53.
All the victims were reported to be detainees and said to belong to the Resistance Forces loyal to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, said Colvillle.
At the same briefing, the UN Children's Fund UNICEF said fuel was running out in water pumping stations serving more than 3 million people, half of them children.
UNICEF Geneva spokesman Christophe Boulierac said recent restrictions to fuel imports to Yemen have also sparked critical shortages and price hikes across the country, severely impacting access to safe water and other vital services for children including health care and sanitation.
"The cuts are the latest challenge to containing Yemen's acute watery diarrhea and cholera outbreak. Yemen has for decades struggled with extreme water scarcity," said the UNICEF spokesperson.
Children under five years old account for more than a quarter of nearly 1 million suspected cases of acute watery diarrhea and cholera, said UNICEF.
"Over 385,000 children suffer from severe acute malnutrition and are fighting for their lives. Poor access to safe drinking water is also one of the most important causes of malnutrition," said Boulierac.
Another UN agency, the World Food Programme, said more commercial ships needed to enter sea ports in Yemen to ease the potential of famine for 8 million people in the country who rely on important basics such as food, fuel, and medicine.