Yemen Data Project: Collating data on political violence and Saudi coalition air raids.
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Air Raids Kill and Injure Over 400 Civilians In First Month of 2022

Civilian casualties reach five-year high, bombing rates surge by 60%

January 2022 was the most violent month in the Saudi-led air war in Yemen in more than five years. Yemen Data Project recorded 139 civilian deaths and 287 civilians injured in Saudi coalition airstrikes in January, taking the casualty toll to over 19,000 civilians killed and injured since Saudi Arabia launched its bombing campaign in Yemen in March 2015. Not since October 2016 have more civilian casualties been recorded in a single month in the air war. Saudi-led coalition airstrikes caused more civilian harm in the first month of 2022 than in the two previous years combined.

Air raid* numbers increased 60% month-on-month from 250 in December to 401 in January - the highest monthly rate since March 2018 and the fifth consecutive month of rising bombing numbers. Monthly air raid rates have more than doubled since the UN Human Rights Council GEE mandate ended on 31 October last year in a notable escalation in the conflict amid reduced accountability. The intensification of the bombing campaign in January included two air raids on hospitals; two water sites being bombed, 11 air raids on civilian vehicles; the bombing of a radio and TV station; a food truck and a food storage unit.
Internet Outage Precedes Deadly Bombing 

January saw the highest number of bombings on communications infrastructure since the air war began in 2015. YDP recorded 24 air raids on telecommunications network infrastructure in the month in addition to an airstrike in Al-Hudaydah on 20 January that resulted in a countrywide loss of internet connectivity. The Al-Hudaydah bombing of a telecommunications site killed at least four civilians and injured 17 more, two children were amongst the dead, and threw the entire country into an internet blackout lasting four days. The outage had widespread impact on civilian communications and media coverage in another blow to accountability. Within hours the Saudi-led coalition carried out one of the deadliest bombings of the seven-year air campaignIn an air raid on an apparent migrant detention facility in Sa'ada on 21 January, YDP recorded up to the three individual airstrikes on a military site where the facility was located that left at least 91 civilians dead and injured a further 236 civilians. Only two other airstrikes have caused more civilian harm since the Saudi Arabian led coalition started its bombing campaign in Yemen seven years ago.

Civilian Casualty Numbers Match Escalating Bombing Rates

The 426 civilian casualties in bombings in January happened in 23 of the 401 air raids recorded in the month. More civilians were killed and injured in the 21 January Sa'ada strike than in all 1,790 air raids in 2021 combined. Other bombings that caused mass civilian casualties include an air raid on a residential area in the Ma'ain district of the capital on 17 January that killed 14 civilians including five women and a child. A further 11 civilians were injured, amongst them a woman and a child. The capital saw the highest number of air raids in a single month since December 2017.  Three separate air raids on civilian vehicles and buses killed at least 17, including three childrenOf the 288 air raids in the month where the target could be identified, 41% hit civilian targetsThere were more civilian casualties in the 401 air raids in the first month of 2022 than in all 3,945 air raids recorded in 2021 and 2020 combined.
Retaliatory Air Raids

The month was also marked by spikes in air raid rates following pro-Houthi attacks in the UAE. Houthi military officials claimed, and the UAE acknowledged, a series of drone and missile attacks in the United Arab Emirates in January. The two heaviest days of bombing in the month were the days after the 17 January and the 24 January Houthi attacks.


AIR RAIDS 24,676
The highest number of air raids recorded in a single month remains September 2015 at 920, which was also the deadliest month in the air war when at least 756 civilians were killed.
April 2015 saw the highest number of civilian casualties (fatalities and injured) in a single month at 1,745.

In YDP's data the air raid* figure is the most conservative. The true number of individual airstrikes ranges from the minimum of 24,676 to a maximum airstrikes of 73,967 since March 2015.

In January, 30% of bombings hit civilian targets** and 42% hit military targets. In 28% of air raids in January the target could not be identified. Of the 288 air raids where the target could be identified, 59% were military, 41% of identifiable targets were civilian.

Of the 288 air raids where the target was identified in January 2022
  • 39 hit residential areas, killing 24 and injuring 18.
  • 39 hit military sites - a single air raid on a detention facility killed 91 and injured 236.
  • 24 hit communication sites.
  • 20 hit farms, killing 2 and injuring 4.
  • 11 hit civilian vehicles and buses, killing 14 and injuring 3.
  • 9 hit government compounds including the telecommunications authority in Hudaydah, killing 5 and injuring 17.
  • 2 hit hospitals, injuring 4.
  • 1 hit a food storage facility and 1 a food truck, killing 1. 
  • 1 hit a fuel station, injuring 3.

MARIB: Breakdown of districts targeted
 Marib continues to be the most heavily bombed governorate. January saw the heaviest month of bombing ever recorded in Marib with 145 air raids. Harib and Al-Jubah were the most heavily bombed districts in the country as anti-Houthi fighters battled for control of territory in northern Shabwa and the southern districts of Marib. 27% of countrywide air raids in January hit the three districts of Harib, Al-Jubah and Marib - the heaviest month of bombing ever recorded in Harib, which was reportedly retaken by anti-Houthi forces by the end of the month. 36% of all Saudi-led coalition air raids in January targeted Marib governorate.
 SHABWA: Breakdown of districts targeted

Shabwa also saw the heaviest month of bombing ever recorded in the governorate, this reflected the anti-Houthi military operation to reclaim territory that was lost in northern Shabwa in 2021. By the end of January, anti-Houthi forces reportedly pushed the Houthis out of Shabwa and made gains in southern Marib. The most heavily targeted district in Shabwa was Ain, which borders the heavily bombed Marib districts of Harib and Al-Jubah. The deadliest air raids for civilians in the month in Shabwa were in Bayhan district. The bombing of a civilian bus killed five; an air raid in a residential area killed two and injured three; a civilian car was bombed leaving two dead including a child and injured two more civilians.

Separate to our air raids data collection, as part of our work to enhance conflict monitoring and data sharing, YDP is collaborating with the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project on countrywide political violence data.

This extensive monitoring effort has allowed ACLED and YDP to provide the most comprehensive coverage of political violence across Yemen.

ACLED's methodology on casualty counting differs from Yemen Data Project's air raids data. See here for more details on ACLED's methodology and coding decisions used in their data collection.
Iona Craig (UK) +447446598852
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*Air raid refers to a single incident. One air raid incident includes all air strikes on a single location within approximately one hour and therefore may comprise multiple airstrikes. Airstrikes per air raid can vary greatly from a couple to several dozen. Read more.
**Non-military targeting may be an indication of fighting taking place in urban areas resulting in the possible change of use of buildings and/or escalated targeting of civilian sites. The dataset lists target category and subcategory for each incident, where information on the target is available. When listing permanent structures the target category refers to the original use of the target e.g. a school hit by an air raid is referred to as a school building with no further assessment made on its use at the time of the air raid, or any possible change of use over the course of the conflict.
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For further information on the Yemen Data Project please visit or contact the project's spokesperson, Iona Craig: 
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