Skip to main content

Scores killed in Yemen's Marib over 24 hours

The UN warned of a humanitarian crisis as thousands are displaced by Houthi offensive
Armed Houthis at the funeral of another fighter killed during recent fighting in Marib (Reuters)

At least 90 combatants have been killed in fighting around Yemen's Marib governorate over a single day, government sources said. 

Marib has seen intense fighting over the past month as the Iran-backed Houthi rebels attempt to seize control of the governorate, which is the last stronghold of pro-government forces in northern Yemen. 

The government sources told AFP that 32 have been killed from its own forces and allied local tribes while air strikes from the Saudi-led coalition supporting the government killed 58 Houthi fighters. 

Marib's Sirwah district already hosts around 30,000 people displaced in harsh conditions as a result of earlier fighting, and the UN has repeatedly warned in recent weeks of a humanitarian crisis for civilians because of the current battles.

According to the UN, more than 8,000 people have been newly displaced in and around Sirwah since early February, many of them fleeing existing displacement camps. 

Two Yemeni children at a camp for displaced people in Yemen's Marib governorate
Yemeni children wait outside their tent at a displacement camp in the Marib desert (AFP)

The organisation said the numbers are expected to rise unless the fighting is halted. 

The UN called for $3.85bn in assistance for Yemen at a meeting this week but received less than half the target ($1.7bn), despite warning that Yemen was facing the world's worst famine in decades. 

"What we're talking about is a huge famine. Famines used to be common in the world, but now they're very rare," said Mark Lowcock, the head of humanitarian assistance at the UN, last week. 

"Famines now are a choice by powerful people over powerless people. You only get a famine as a result of an active decision by powerful people."