The UN has estimated that the war in Yemen had killed 377,000 people by the end of 2021, through direct and indirect causes. Over 150,000 of these deaths were the direct result of the armed conflict, while far more have died due to hunger and disease as a result of the humanitarian crisis caused by the war. Nearly 15,000 civilians have been killed by direct military action, most of them in air strikes by the Saudi-led Coalition.
Air raids have frequently targeted civilian gatherings such as weddings and busy market places where there was no military target nearby, often with extremely deadly consequences. Many of these air raids appear to be clear violations of International Humanitarian Law.
Despite UK government claims that it provides training to the Coalition to avoid civilian casualties, there is no sign that this has reduced the deadly toll of the air raids. UK-manufactured weapons have been tied to individual attacks violating International Humanitarian Law.
A devastating human toll
The war in Yemen has killed over 150,000 people as a direct result of military action, from March 2015 (when Saudi Arabia and its coalition allies joined the war), until June 2019, according to data from the Yemen Data Project and ACLED, the Armed Conflict Locations and Events Data project.
This direct death toll includes nearly 15,000 civilians killed in attacks that directly targeted civilian gatherings or buildings. Nearly 9,000, or 60% of these deaths, from over 7,000 separate incidents, were caused by air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition.
Others were killed by landmines or improvised explosive devices (IEDs), artillery shelling, suicide bombings, shootings, and other armed violence against civilians, in attacks committed by all sides. Many more civilians, not included in the above figures, have also been killed in attacks on military targets – so-called “collateral damage”.