Sana'a/Amman: A blast in the Yemeni capital of Sana'a has killed 14 children and critically injured 16, according to UNICEF.
Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said about the incident, "This is what UNICEF was able to verify, with the actual number of children killed and injured likely to increase.
“The critically injured children, many of whom are fighting for their lives, are now in hospitals in Sana’a. Most are under the age of nine. One girl succumbed to her injuries yesterday morning," he added.
Cappelaere said the incident occurred near two schools.
“It was almost lunch time and students were in class. The blast shattered the windows and unleashed a burst of shrapnel and broken glass into the classrooms.
“It is hard to imagine the sheer horror that those children experienced – and the sheer horror and guilt parents may feel for having done what every parent aspires to: sending their children to school."
The killing and maiming of children are grave violations of children's rights, Cappelaere stated
“Yesterday’s blast is another reminder that even schools are not safe in Yemen. One in five schools can no longer be used as a direct result of the conflict. Some came under direct attack, while others are being used for military purposes.
"For more than 2 million children in Yemen today, going to school is a faraway dream! Yesterday’s blast may further discourage parents to send their children to school."
UNICEF, he stated, had mobilised lifesaving assistance for affected children and families over the last 24 hours. The organisation is providing them with psychosocial support and coverd surgery and other medical treatment costs as well helping them travel to be with their loved ones as they receive care.
The global body noted that more than 400 children have been killed and seriously injured in Yemen since the beginning of the year.