Injured girl sparks campaign highlighting Yemen’s humanitarian crisis

World Today

Photo from Twitter user @moamer00

The heartbreaking image of a Yemeni child injured in a Saudi-led airstrike has compelled many on social media to raise awareness of the humanitarian crisis there.

Buthaina Mohammed Mansour al-Rimi, who is believed to be between 3-5 years old, is the sole survivor of an Saudi-led airstrike in the capital of Sana’a that killed at least 14 civilians including her entire family of five siblings, her parents, and her uncle who was visiting.

She has several fractured bones in her head and other parts of her body, as well as a concussion, the ICU physician Mahfouz Sagheer who is treating her told Reuters.

Her injuries caused her eyes to swell shut and the image of the girl with bruised eyes attempting to open one of them with her fingers has been shared widely.

Many people are making a similar gesture with the hashtag #I_Speak_For_Buthina or #ForEyes_Buthaina to highlight the devastation taking place in Yemen.

The Saudi-led coalition is battling Yemeni Shiite Houthi rebels. Coalition spokesman Col. Turki al-Maliki said in a statement that he expressed his “sincere sympathy” and said the strike was a “technical mistake”, “accidental”, and “unintentional”.

The bombing was the latest in a significant escalation in the coalition’s air campaign in Yemen. On Wednesday, at least 41 people died when aircraft bombed a small hotel in the town of Arhab.

Buthaina Muhammad Mansour, believed to be four of five, sits on a bed at a hospital after she survived a Saudi-led air strike that killed eight of her family members in Sanaa, Yemen August 26, 2017. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

Over the past two years, more than 10,000 people have been killed and 3 million displaced amid the coalition’s relentless air campaign against Yemen’s Iran-backed Shiite rebels. The rebels took control of the capital of Sana’a in 2015. The Saudi-led campaign is seeking to restore Yemen’s internationally-recognized Sunni government back to power.


The Saudi-led airstrikes have hit schools, hospitals, and markets, killing thousands of civilians and prompting rights groups to accuse the coalition of war crimes. Activists have called upon Western countries, including the United States and Britain, to cease their military support for the coalition.

A man carries Buthaina Muhammad Mansour, believed to be four or five, rescued from the site of a Saudi-led air strike that killed eight of her family members in Sanaa, Yemen August 25, 2017. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah/File Photo

Journalists have also protested Saudi Arabia’s blocking of foreign reporters from the rebel-held areas.

In addition to civilian casualties, the conflict triggered a set of humanitarian crises including cholera epidemic which killed around 2,000 people and infected over half a million as Yemen’s health, water, and sanitation systems were near collapse while shortage in basic necessities left millions hungry and pushed the impoverished nation to the brink of famine.


Yemen’s brutal war has shown no signs of abating and U.S. support for the coalition led by Riyadh appears to be only increasing.

On Wednesday, Gen. Joseph Votel, the top U.S. commander for the Middle East, visited the Saudi-Yemen border for a first-hand look at the kingdom’s military fight against Yemen’s rebels — a visit that coincided with the attack in Arhab.

Story by CGTN America and the Associated Press.