At least 85 people were killed and several others were injured in a stampede that broke out during a charity event at a school in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen. People had gathered in hundreds at the school to receive a donation of 5,000 Yemeni riyals, around Rs 1,642 each, news agency Reuters reported quoting eyewitnesses.
As per reports, the stampede took place during the distribution of charitable donations by merchants in the final days of the holy Ramadan month. According to eyewitnesses, armed Houthis shot in the air in a bid to control the crowd. However, the shots reportedly struck an electrical wire which caused it to explode.
Following the explosion, panic gripped the people and they began running here and there causing the stampede.
A Houthi official said that at least “85 were killed and more than 322 were injured” after the stampede in the Bab al-Yemen.
Meanwhile, a footage aired by Al Masirah TV showed corpses strewn across the complex, which was filled with sandals and pieces of clothes after the area was cleaned.
In the aftermath of the incident, the school has been sealed off and even families have been barred from entering the school. A correspondent of AFP reported that in Sanaa large crowds were seen descending on a hospital entrance.
It may be noted that more than eight years of civil war in Yemen has unleashed what the United Nations called one of the world’s worst humanitarian tragedies.
The conflict had began in 2014 when Iran-backed Houthi rebels had seized Sanaa which saw a Saudi-led coalition to intervene in retaliation in the following year to prop up the internationally recognized government.
In the meantime, since the six-month truce which had been brokered by the United Nations last year, fighting has eased dramatically even after it expired in October.