Home/Daniel Larison/Saudi Coalition Bombing Causes 2/3 of Yemeni Civilian Casualties

Saudi Coalition Bombing Causes 2/3 of Yemeni Civilian Casualties

Rubble aftermath of a Saudi airstrike on a Yemeni neighborhood in 2015. Almigdad Mojalli/Voice of America

The Armed Conflict Location Eventa & Data (ACLED) Project released its latest findings on fatalities caused by the war on Yemen, and now that they have completed their assessment of all data from the first year of the war they conclude that more than 90,000 have been killed over the course of the last four years:

The death toll reported here does not account for preventable deaths caused by starvation and disease. As we know from other studies, even more Yemenis have died from these causes than have been killed by bombs and shells. The overall cost of the war is much higher than the 90,000+ figure reported by ACLED, and this new figure is significantly higher than previous casualty estimates. News stories frequently cited outdated numbers that dramatically understated how many had lost their lives because of the war. For years, the “official” death toll remained frozen at 10,000 years after it six or seven times as many people had been killed. Fortunately, that erroneous information has started to be replaced with more accurate assessments of the losses inflicted by the war.

Two-thirds of the civilian casualties included in this count were killed by Saudi coalition airstrikes:

As ACLED’s summary states, the Saudi coalition is “the actor most responsible for civilian deaths.” In some parts of Yemen, Saudi coalition responsibility for civilian deaths is even higher than 67%. In those areas that have come under the heaviest and most indiscriminate bombing, the percentage of civilian casualties caused by Saudi coalition airstrikes rises to 75%, and these are the areas that account for most of the total number of civilian casualties for the entire country:

Living in Hodeidah, Taiz, and Sadah governorates has been extremely lethal for civilians. In each governorate more than 2,000 civilians have been killed since 2015 — combined making up more than half of all civilian fatalities reported in Yemen since 2015. More than 75% of the direct civilian fatalities in these governorates are caused by airstrikes from the Saudi-led coalition.

The U.S. shares in the responsibility for causing those thousands of civilian deaths through our government’s ongoing support for the war and the continued selling of U.S.-made weapons to Saudi coalition governments. The Trump administration is determined to continue making the U.S. an accomplice to future Saudi coalition war crimes with the decision to expedite arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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