Yemen: At least 85 killed, hundreds injured in stampede


At least 85 people were killed while more than 322 were injured in a stampede during a charity distribution event in Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, on Thursday, the Houthi-run health authority,, reported.

At least “85 were killed and more than 322 wounded” after the stampede in the Bab al-Yaman district of Sanaa, a Houthi security official said. The latest tragedy to hit the Arabian Peninsula’s poorest country comes just days before the Muslim holiday of Eid-ul-Fitr that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Hundreds of people thronged a school to receive the donation, which amounted to 5,000 Yemeni Riyals (USD 13), reported. In a statement carried by the rebels’ Saba news agency, the interior ministry said the dead and injured had been taken to nearby hospitals and those responsible for the distribution had been detained.

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Houthi-run Al-Masirah TV reported that the group’s Interior Ministry claimed the destruction was caused by a stampede by local merchants distributing cash without the support of any organization or ministry. Ministry spokesman Abdul Khaliq al-Azri was quoted by TV as saying that authorities have arrested two businessmen responsible for the inconsistent distribution of money and that the incident is being investigated.

Videos circulated on social media platforms showed bodies lying on the ground in a large complex as people screamed around them. Yemenis, impoverished by years of conflict, flock to the charity center for basic needs as Eid al-Fitr, one of the most important festivals for Muslims, approaches.

Yemen has been mired in civil war since late 2014, when Iran-backed Houthi militias seized control of several northern provinces and forced the Saudi-backed Yemeni government out of the capital, Sanaa. The war has killed thousands of people, displaced 4 million and pushed Yemen to the brink of starvation.

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