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85 killed, over 300 injured in stampede at charity event in Yemen

At least 85 dead, over 300 injured in Yemen stampede

At least 85 people were killed and 322 injured in a deadly stampede at a charity distribution event in Yemen’s capital Sanaa on Thursday, according to an AFP report.

The stampede took place during the distribution of charitable donations by merchants in the final days of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the Houthi-controlled Ministry of Interior’s spokesperson said in a statement.

At least “85 were killed and more than 322 were injured” after the stampede in the Bab al-Yemen district of the capital, a Huthi security official said.The toll was also confirmed by a health official.

Hundreds of people had crowded into a school to receive the donations, which amounted to 5,000 Yemeni riyals, or about $9 per person, two witnesses involved in the rescue effort told Reuters.

A video posted by Houthi television on Telegram messaging app showed a crowd of people jammed together, some screaming and shouting and reaching out to be pulled to safety.

A video broadcast by the Huthi rebel’s Al Masirah TV channel showed a several bodies piled up, with survivors struggling to get out of the place.

Armed fighters in military uniforms and distribution workers screamed at the crowd to turn back as they rescued people from the stampede.

The dead and injured have been moved to nearby hospitals and those responsible for the distribution were taken into custody, the Huthi’s interior ministry said in a statement carried by the rebel’s Saba news agency.

Families rushed to hospitals but many were not allowed to enter as top officials were also visiting the dead and wounded.

An AFP correspondent in Sanaa saw large crowds descend on one hospital entrance.

Security forces were heavily deployed around the school where the incident took place, according to the correspondent. They blocked relatives from entering the facility to locate loved ones.

Ravaged by over eight years of civil war, Yemen is facing what the United Nations describes as one of the world’s worst humanitarian tragedies.