Civilian casualties in the three-year horror in Yemen has been vastly underestimated by mainstream organizations, reports Nicolas Davies.
Total Deaths in Yemen
Top More Than 100,000
By Nicolas J. S. Davies
An NGO responsible for reporting on war deaths in Yemen has acknowledged that it has underestimated the casualties in the three-year-old conflict by at least five to one.
Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project had originally estimated that about 10,000 people had been killed in the war in Yemen, roughly the same number reported by the World Health Organization. WHO surveys are regularly cited as estimates of war deaths in Yemen by UN agencies and the world’s media. But ACLED now estimates the true number of people killed in Yemen is probably between 70,000 and 80,000.
ACLED’s estimates do not include the thousands of Yemenis who have died from the war’s indirect consequences, such as starvation and preventable diseases like diphtheria and cholera. UNICEF reported in December 2016 that a child was dying every 10 minutes in Yemen, and the humanitarian crisis has only worsened since then. At that rate the total of all deaths caused directly and indirectly by the war must by now be more than one hundred thousand.
Another NGO, the Yemen Data Project, revealed in September 2016 that at least a third of Saudi-led airstrikes, many of which involve U.S.-built and (until Friday U.S.-refueled warplanes) using U.S.-made bombs, were hitting hospitals, schools, markets, mosques, and other civilian targets. This has left at least half the hospitals and health facilities in Yemen damaged or destroyed, according to the Yemen Data Project, leaving them hardly able to treat the casualties of the war or serve their communities, let alone to compile meaningful figures for the WHO’s surveys.
Even comprehensive surveys of fully functioning hospitals would capture only a fraction of the violent deaths in a war-torn country like Yemen, where most of those killed in the war do not die in hospitals. And yet the UN and the world’s media have continued to…