At least 85 people, according to the AFP agency, died today and dozens were injured in a stampede that took place in the old city of Furythe Yemeni capital controlled by the Shia Houthi rebels, in an aid distribution center, reported insurgent health sources. The assistants had been promised an aid of 8 euros for going to the center.
“The victims of the stampede increased to 78 citizens and dozens were injured,” said the director of the Sana’a Department of Health, Mutahar al Marouni, to the chain Al Masirah, spokesman for the Houthis. The death toll later rose to 85.
The Houthi Interior Ministry spokesman, General Abdul Khaliq al-Ajri, considered what happened tonight in the capital as a “tragic and painful accident in which dozens of people died as a result of a stampede of citizens during the random distribution of sums of money by some merchants without coordination with the Ministry of the Interior” reported the insurgents’ Yemeni news agency, Saba.
The head of the Houthi ministry indicated that two of the merchants responsible for this distribution were arrested, while the prosecutor’s office immediately mobilized to investigate what happened.
In a video published by Al Masira, a crowd is seen trapped among the people pressing to get out in one of the streets of the old city of Sana’a.
The deputy head of the Al Thawra Hospital told the same outlet that they had received 78 bodies in their center alone, so it is estimated that the number of deaths is higher given that more corpses have reached other hospitals in Sana’a.
The Yemeni capital has been controlled by Iranian-backed rebels since 2014, when a conflict began that forced the internationally recognized Yemeni government into exile in Aden, in the south of the country. The war in Yemen, in which Saudi Arabia intervened in 2015 as the leader of a military coalition, has caused the worst humanitarian catastrophe on the planet.