Nearly 1,400 children have been killed, hundreds more injured and many schools closed by the war in Yemen, the UN children’s fund said on Wednesday.
“Attacks on civilian areas continue to kill and injure scores of children in Yemen,” said UNICEF’s representative in Yemen, Meritxell Relano.
“Instead of learning, children are witnessing death, war and destruction,” she added, warning that the actual casualty toll was likely to be much higher than the verified figures.
More than 7,300 people have been killed in Yemen since a Saudi-led coalition intervened against Iran-backed Huthi rebels in March 2015 in support of the government.
Relano called on all parties in the conflict to protect children and stop attacks on schools.
The plea follows a coalition air strike near a school in rebel-held northern Yemen on Tuesday that medics and a local official said killed five people, including two children.
UNICEF said that it had confirmed the death of one child in the strike.
“Schools have to be zones of peace at all times, a sanctuary where children can learn, grow, play and be safe,” Relano said.
“Children should never risk their lives only to attend school.”
She said that nearly 2,000 schools in Yemen can no longer be used because they have been damaged, destroyed or are used as shelters or for military purposes.