78 Die in Stampede at Event to Distribute Aid

At least 73 others injured in Yemen tragedy
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 20, 2023 12:00 AM CDT
78 Dead in Yemen Stampede
This image from a video, shows the scene of a deadly stampede in Sanaa, Yemen Wednesday, April 19, 2023. WARNING: FOLLOWING IMAGES ARE DISTURBING.   (AL-MASIRAH TV CHANNEL via AP)

A crowd of people apparently spooked by gunfire and an electrical explosion stampeded at an event to distribute financial aid in Yemen’s capital late Wednesday, killing at least 78 and injuring at least 73 others, according to eyewitnesses and Houthi rebel officials. Abdel-Rahman Ahmed and Yahia Mohsen, who witnessed the scene, said armed Houthis had fired into the air in an attempt at crowd control, apparently striking an electrical wire and causing it to explode, the AP reports. That sparked a panic, and people, including many women and children, began stampeding, they said. Video posted on social media showed dozens of bodies on the ground, some motionless and others screaming as people tried to help.

The crush took place in the Old City in the center of Sanaa, where hundreds of poor people gathered for the event organized by merchants, according to the Houthi-run Interior Ministry. The ministry's spokesman, Brig. Abdel-Khaleq al-Aghri, blamed the crush on the “random distribution” of funds without coordination with local authorities. The tragedy came ahead of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Islamic holy month Ramadan later this week. Motaher al-Marouni, a senior health official in Sanaa, gave the death toll of 78 and said at least 13 were seriously hurt, according the rebels’ Al-Masirah satellite TV channel.

(More Yemen stories.)

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