A tragic incident occurred in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, late on Wednesday, as at least 78 people were killed and 73 others injured in a Yemen stampede during a charity distribution event for Ramadan. The incident took place at a school in the Bab al-Yemen area, where hundreds of people, including women and children, had gathered to receive donations amounting to about $9 per person.
Footage shared on social media showed a crowd of people unable to move, with many in distress, as dozens of bodies lay on the ground. Houthi rebels, who have controlled Sanaa since 2015, reportedly fired into the air for crowd control, accidentally striking an electrical wire and causing an explosion, which led to panic and the subsequent crush.
The Houthi-run interior ministry has arrested two local businessmen who organized the event and initiated an investigation. A ministry spokesman blamed the incident on the “random distribution” of funds without proper coordination with local officials. Of the injured, 13 are in a critical condition, according to a health official in Sanaa.
Response to the Yemen stampede
The Houthi rebels have agreed to pay $2,000 in compensation to each family who lost a relative in the tragedy, while the injured would receive around $400. The disaster comes ahead of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan this week. This is the deadliest incident in Yemen in years unrelated to the ongoing conflict, resulting in one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters.
Image Credit: AL-MASIRAH TV CHANNEL via AP