The civilian death toll in Yemen’s ongoing war continues to rise today, with 18 civilians reported slain in the southern port city of Aden during overnight rocket fire by the Shi’ite Houthis against neighborhoods under the control of the former Hadi government’s loyalists. 13 pro-Hadi fighters were also killed.
Aden has been the main site of ground fighting in Yemen in recent weeks, with the Saudi military pounding the country and dropping supplies to the Hadi forces in hopes of turning the tide against the Houthis. The Saudis say their goal is to reinstall President Hadi, who resigned in January.
With so much of the fighting in Yemen centered around densely-populated cities, the Saudi airstrikes as well as the Houthi fire on pro-Saudi forces have both produced extreme numbers of civilian casualties, with human rights groups warning the war is rife with war crimes.
Perhaps the biggest problem, however, is the Saudi naval blockade, as Yemen imports some 90 percent of its food, and those imports have slowed to a trickle since the war began. The UN today described the situation as a “level 3” humanitarian crisis, the last level above a full-scale famine, which the country seems to be moving inexorably toward. With no sign the Hadi forces will agree to new peace talks, it seems only a matter of time before the deaths from starvation far outstrip the deaths from the fighting itself.