UN's humanitarian coordinator almost doubles previous estimates, saying even that figure could be low due to conditions in Yemen
At least 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen's 18-month-old civil war, the United Nations said on Tuesday, almost double the estimates of more than 6,000 cited by officials and aid workers for much of 2016.
Jamie McGoldrick, the UN's humanitarian coordinator, told a news conference in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa the new figure was based on official information from medical facilities.
That figure could still be under-reported as some areas had no medical facilities, and people were often buried without any official record being made.
The conflict has forced three million Yemenis from their homes, 200,000 of whom had sought refuge abroad, McGoldrick said.
The UN had information that 900,000 of those displaced intended to try to return to their homes, he said.
"This is a big challenge, especially in areas still experiencing conflict," McGoldrick said.
UN humanitarian coordinator Jamie McGoldrick (Reuters)
More than half of Yemen's 26 million population need food aid and seven million are suffering from food insecurity, he said.
Yemen has been torn apart by fighting between Houthi rebels, who are allegedly directly supported by Iran, and the Saudi-backed government of president Abd Rabbuh Hadi.
The Houthis kicked Hadi and his government out of the capital, Sanaa, in early 2015 and forced him into exile in Riyadh.
Since then, Saudi Arabia launched a coalition to reinstate the president, taking Aden from the Houthis and basing troops there.
The Saudi-led coalition's campaign has been criticised by international organisations for causing mass casualties among civilians by bombing schools, hospitals and residential areas. The UN has called for an investigation of violations.
The UK has been cited by various campaigners for selling billions of dollars of weapons to Riyadh despite evidence it has broken international law in Yemen.
Meanwhile, groups such as the Islamic State and al-Qaeda have capitalised on the growing insecurity in Yemen.
Efforts to secure a peaceful end to the war have failed, with both sides leaving weeks-long talks in Kuwait earlier this year without resolution.
McGoldrick's statement came a day after at least 70 people were reported killed in a suicide bombing of an army recruitment camp in the southern city of Aden.
The Islamic State group claimed the attack.
This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.