One of the deadliest stampedes in a decade claimed at least 85 lives and injured over 300 others on Thursday at a charity distribution event in war-torn Yemen, according to Huthi officials.
Days before Eid al-Fitr, a Muslim holiday marked by eating to commemorate the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, the most recent tragedy to hit the poorest nation in the Arabian Peninsula.
At a school in the nation’s capital Sanaa, hundreds of those struggling with poverty gathered to get cash handouts of 5,000 Yemeni Rials (about $cool).
A Huthi security official claimed that at least “85 were killed and more than 322 were injured” in the stampede that occurred in the Bab al-Yemen neighborhood of the capital and that about 50 people were in critical condition.
He spoke to AFP under the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. “Women and children were among the dead,” he said. The number was confirmed by another health authority.
The deceased and injured have been taken to hospitals, according to the interior ministry headed by the Huthis, and those responsible for the incident have been detained.
A group of bodies were crammed together in a video that was broadcast by the Al Masirah TV channel, and people were climbing on top of one another to try to squeeze through.
The rest of their bodies were absorbed by the dense crowd, and several had their mouths covered by other people’s hands.
Distribution workers and armed men dressed in military attire shouted at the crowd to turn around as they attempted to free people from the crowd.