Landmines kill 121 people in Yemen

A soldier of a demining team disassembles a landmine on a pasture in the Abs district, Hajjah Province, northern Yemen, on Oct. 7, 2022.

Landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXOs) caused 121 civilian casualties in Yemen during the first quarter of 2023, according to a report released by the Yemen branch of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The report, which was based on data from the Yemeni Mine Action Center (YMAC), found that the majority of the casualties were caused by landmines and UXOs on the west coast of Yemen, particularly in the governorates of Hodeidah, Al Jawf, and Marib. Heavy rainfall in these areas dislodged explosive devices, making them more likely to be triggered by civilians.

The report also found that the number of civilian casualties from landmines and UXOs decreased from 144 in the fourth quarter of 2022, due to a number of factors, including increased removals of the war remniants by the YMAC, as well as the displacement of civilians from areas that are heavily mined.

Despite the decrease, the OCHA warned that landmines and UXOs continue to pose a serious threat to civilians in Yemen. There are millions of landmines and UXOs scattered across the country, and these weapons will continue to kill and maim civilians for years to come, it added.

The OCHA called on the international community to provide more funding to support mine clearance efforts in Yemen, stressing that the UN’s efforts to clear landmines and UXOs are essential for millions of Yemenis to return to their home and recover the woes of the country’s conflict.

In addition to clearance operations, the UN is also working to raise awareness among Yemeni civilians about the dangers of landmines and UXOs by conducting risk education campaigns and providing training to local communities, equipping them with knowledge on identifying and avoiding these hazardous remnants, the report added.

Yemen has been engulfed in a deadly military conflict since late 2014, when the Houthi group seized control of several northern provinces, displacing the internationally-recognized government from the capital city of Sanaa. ■

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