At least 78 dead and dozens more injured in Ramadan crush in Yemen’s capital

20 April 2023, 05:36 | Updated: 20 April 2023, 05:39

This image from a video, shows the scene of the deadly stampede in Sanaa, Yemen
This image from a video, shows the scene of the deadly stampede in Sanaa, Yemen. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

At least 78 people have died with dozens more injured in a stampede during a distribution of charity for Ramadan in Yemen's capital.

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The crush took place in the Old City in the centre of Sanaa when hundreds of people gathered at a school, according to the Houthi-run Interior Ministry.

The ministry's spokesman Brigadier Abdel-Khaleq al-Aghri blamed the crush on the "random distribution" of funds without co-ordination with local authorities.

Donations amounted to about $9 (£7) per person.

Eyewitnesses said armed Houthis shot in the air in an attempt to control the crowd, apparently striking an electrical wire and causing it to explode.

It sparked panic and people began stampeding, they said.

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At least 13 of the injured are seriously hurt, senior health official Motaher al-Marouni said.

The Interior Ministry said it had detained two organisers and an investigation was underway.

Yemen's capital has been under the control of the Iranian-backed Houthis since they removed the internationally recognised government in 2014.

A Saudi-led coalition's attempts to restore the government has seen a conflict which has killed more than 150,000 people and created one of the world's worst humanitarian disasters.