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Yemen rocket attack kills 12 refugees sheltering in Aden kindergarten


Yemen rocket attack kills 12 refugees sheltering in Aden kindergarten

UNHCR calls for respect for civilian life as rocket attack kills 12 refugees sheltering in Aden kindergarten.
7 July 2015
A wave of bombings has destroyed buildings across Yemen, like these in the residential areas of the Hashish region of Sanaa, the capital on July 03, 2015.

GENEVA, July 7 (UNHCR) - The UN refugee agency renewed a call on Tuesday (July 7) for parties to the conflict in Yemen to respect civilian life following a weekend rocket attack on a kindergarten in Aden which killed 12 refugees.

Late on Saturday July 4, a rocket blasted through the front of the Al Tadamon Kindergarten in Aden, penetrating several walls and killing 12 refugees: 11 Somalis and one Ethiopian. Among the dead were five children.

"A further 12 refugees were injured and remain in hospital. Several families were sleeping on the roof when the rocket hit, but were fortunately not harmed," UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards told a press briefing in Geneva. "UNHCR condemns the attacks on civilians in Yemen."

Earlier on Saturday, UNHCR's national partner, a Charitable Society for Social Welfare (CSSW) mobile medical team visited the Al Tadamon Kindergarten where 94 displaced urban refugees from Basateen, made up of 40 adults and 54 children, have sought refuge since May.

The medical team conducted health assessments on the 10 families, treating cases of skin infection and providing therapeutic feeding for children.

Medical field visits have become necessary as the CSSW-run Basateen Clinic was forced to close on June 15 after three projectiles destroyed the laboratory. Since then, a medical mobile team has been reaching displaced and refugee communities in Aden.

The Al Tadamon Kindergarten has been supported by UNHCR and run by national partner Solidarity Association for Development (SAD) since 2011. Since the closure of schools across the country at the end of May, all 12 rooms in the kindergarten have been hosting displaced refugee families. It was well known in the surrounding area that the Al Tadamon Kindergarten was used as a refuge for displaced families.

Thousands of urban refugees in Aden have taken refuge in unfinished buildings, schools, Kharaz refugee camp or other cities across Yemen. Many have spontaneously returned to their home countries, undertaking the risky journey on their own, returning to insecurity.

"Refugee and displaced families are amongst the most vulnerable in Yemen and UNHCR calls on all parties to the conflict to respect and protect these civilians' lives and rights," Edwards added.

UNHCR continues to call for unfettered access and movements of humanitarian workers and its supplies so that vital assistance can reach those people in need.

Currently there are over one million internally displaced people in Yemen (1,019,762), approximately 250,000 refugees and an estimated over 21 million people in need throughout the country. Over 46,000 people, including Yemenis and refugees from third countries have fled Yemen, primarily for Djibouti and Somalia, since the conflict commenced in March.

At the same time, and since the beginning of the year, some 35,000 individuals have arrived in Yemen by boat from across the Gulf of Aden.