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17 Dec, 2018 05:30

Yemen's true death toll has topped 60,000 but media too ‘lazy’ to update body count – NGO

Yemen's true death toll has topped 60,000 but media too ‘lazy’ to update body count – NGO

The body count from the conflict in Yemen surpassed 60,000 last week, according to an independent tally, yet mass media continue to cite old figures that heavily underestimate the devastation, an informed researcher has told RT.

More than 60,000 people have been killed in Yemen since January 2016, according to a new report by Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), which estimated that nearly half of those deaths occurred this year.

“From what we can see from the reporting at least, there has been quite a general lazy attitude in using, for instance, the 10,000 figure provided by the UN, the sole official figure since 2016. And still many newspapers and media outlets are using that, which significantly downplays the devastation,” said Andrea Carboni, one of the researchers behind the report, who feels the crisis in Yemen has gone largely under-reported.

The death toll is likely to increase further, amid an ongoing battle for Yemen's port city of Hodeidah, despite a UN-brokered ceasefire. It was agreed between the Saudi-backed government of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and the Houthi rebel group last Thursday, but the truce was pushed back at least until Tuesday, as warring parties refuse to honor it. According to reports, the Arab coalition launched new airstrikes on the port city on Sunday, while clashes continue to plague the region.

“We know already that there are pockets of famine reported in several areas and 85,000 people may have also died because of malnutrition and diseases connected to it,” Carboni said.

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More than three years of hostilities have taken a devastating toll on Yemen, with both the Houthis and the Saudi-led coalition accused of committing various crimes. Millions of people, including children, are at risk of starvation, while over half of Yemen's population relies on aid to survive. A strict sea and air blockade of Yemen continues to cause shortages of essential supplies like food, medicines and fuel.

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The country also suffers from rampant diseases like measles, diphtheria and cholera, exacerbated by the lack of healthcare services, water treatment facilities, and other crucial civilian infrastructure damaged by the Saudi-led bombings. Numerous NGOs throughout the conflict noted that Saudi airstrikes have been responsible for a large share of civilian deaths, by often “mistakenly” targeting marketplaces, funeral processions and weddings.

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