At least 74 children have been killed and 44 wounded since March 26, when the Saudi-led air campaign in Yemen began, UNICEF announced.
More than 100,000 Yemenis have fled their homes, and children are especially vulnerable, the United Nations children’s agency said on Monday. Warring factions have also increased their recruitment of children, the agency said.
“They are being killed, maimed and forced to flee their homes, their health threatened and their education interrupted,” Julian Harneis, UNICEF's representative in Yemen, said in the statement.
Civilians have paid a heavy toll for the violence, with at least 500 killed so far, the U.N. said last week.
Aid workers have had difficulty getting access to the country. The International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) said that one passenger plane carrying staff was able to land in Sanaa on Monday, but the organization has not yet been able to find a cargo plane operator to fly supplies into the country.
At least three health workers, including an ambulance driver, have been killed in attacks in Aden and another southern city.
“Conditions are very dangerous right now,” UNICEF's Dr. Gamila Hibatullah in Aden said in the statement. “Hospitals are overflowing, and even ambulances have been hijacked.”
Humanitarian groups say they are running out of supplies. They have called for a temporary halt to the fighting to allow medical teams and fresh medical supplies to arrive in the country and for residents to identify and bury their dead.
UNICEF said the violence has disrupted water supplies in southern Yemen, and sewage is overflowing in some locations, raising the risk of outbreaks of waterborne disease. Water systems have been repeatedly damaged in Aden and two other areas, UNICEF said, adding that it is providing fuel for water pumps.
Hospitals are struggling to treat large numbers of wounded with insufficient supplies and some medical facilities have come under attack, the agency said.
The conflict in Yemen has grown from an internal power struggle into a regional war. It has drawn in neighboring Saudi Arabia, which has stepped in against the Houthi rebel group that ousted Saudi-backed President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi late last month.
Forces loyal to Hadi's predecessor, President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who ruled Yemen for three decades until protests ousted him in 2011, are fighting alongside the Houthis for control of the country. The bloodshed has become part of a power struggle between the Shia government in Tehran and the Sunni monarchy in Riyadh. The Houthis’ opponents, which include Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, accuse the group of being backed by Iran, a charge they deny.
Saudi-led coalition jets bombed a military installation in southern Yemen on Tuesday, as local tribes battled with forces loyal to the Shia rebels in the area, forcing them out and seizing their makeshift camp and weapons, military officials said.
The Saudi-led military campaign has so far failed to stop the Houthi advance on Aden, Yemen's second-largest city. Hadi declared Aden a provisional capital before he fled the country late last month.
On Monday, fighting intensified in Aden, with the rebels and their allies making their strongest push yet to seize control of the port city, a main stronghold of Hadi supporters. The clashes were so intense that many bodies were left in the streets.
Al Jazeera and wires