How a US bomb destroyed a funeral gathering in Yemen

By Oxfam
Medics carry the body of a victim of a Saudi-led coalition airstrike in Sanaa, Yemen, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016. Yemeni security and medical officials say at least 45 people have been killed in a Saudi-led coalition airstrike that targeted a funeral hall in the capital, Sanaa. The officials say at least another 100 have been wounded in the Saturday strike. AP Photo/Osamah Abdulrhman

The conflict in Yemen marked a devastating new milestone this past Saturday as an airstrike from the Saudi-led coalition struck a funeral hall in Sanaa killing over 140 people and wounding over 500.

Since the conflict started in March 2015, thousands of strikes have destroyed civilian objects like homes, markets, hospitals, schools, and other critical infrastructure. They have also killed and wounded thousands of Yemenis. The humanitarian crisis in Yemen only continues to grow. Now, more than 19 million people do not have access to clean water, 14 million people are suffering from hunger and malnutrition, and over 3 million Yemenis have been driven from their homes.

Between January and May 2016, Oxfam surveyed 1000 displaced people and the communities hosting them across Yemen: 76 percent said they had fled because of the airstrikes, and almost two-thirds said that close family members had died or had been injured as a result of the conflict.

In response to Saturday’s attack, the US announced that it will immediately review its support to the Saudi-led coalition.

“This review should have begun eighteen months ago, when it was clear that US support would inhibit efforts to avert a humanitarian crisis and reach a political settlement. And it should conclude immediately, with the withdrawal of all US support, including the sale of arms, to the parties,” said Scott Paul, Oxfam America’s senior humanitarian policy advisor. “Any other choice signals ongoing indifference to the thousands of Yemenis killed by airstrikes and the millions on the verge of starvation thanks to a senseless, preventable conflict. The US must throw its full weight behind a political settlement, it cannot be a peace broker and an arms broker at the same time.”

With Yemen’s economy on the verge of collapse and prices of food, fuel, and medical supplies skyrocketing, the US government says it wants to end the war there but its continuing support of the Saudi-led coalition, including continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia, don’t meet that aspiration. President Obama should move immediately to suspend assistance and arms sales to Saudi Arabia. 

Tell President Obama now: end support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen once and for all.

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