A fire at a overcrowded migrant detention centre in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, that houses migrants mostly from Ethiopia, may have killed as many as 30 people and injured 170 others, officials with the UN Migration Agency (IOM) say.
The fire came as renewed Saudi airstrikes hit the city and the Houthis mounted a missile and drone attack on oil installations in Saudi Arabia.
Conditions at the detention facility were said to be squalid even before this devastating fire.
Migrants and guards are reported to be among the dead.
IOM's Carmela Godeu said in tweet that her staff were offering emergency care to more than 170 injured people, of whom at least 90 were in serious condition.
It’s not known what caused the fire, but a Saudi airstrike is known to have damaged buildings nearby.
In a statement, the Houthi authorities said they held the IOM and the UN fully responsible, for failing to house migrants and not helping to deport them. Neither function is part of the organisation’s mandate.
Despite Yemen’s endless war, tens of thousands of migrants – mostly from the Horn of Africa – try and pass through the country every year, hoping to find work in neighbouring Saudi Arabia.
But the war has closed the borders and the migrants are stuck in a country torn apart by conflict, hunger and disease.