Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) has released a case study, researched by Iona Craig, examining the impact of air-dropped bombs on Yemen’s civilians, and the large number of casualties witnessed over the past year as a result of the Saudi-led coalition’s excessive use of these weapons in populated areas. Aerial bombings are among the most lethal forms of artillery. When compared to other manufactured explosives, they are shown to kill three times as many civilians, or an average of ten civilians per incident in the past ten years. In the first seven months of 2015, air-dropped bombs accounted for 60 percent of civilian casualties resulting from explosive violence in Yemen, with 82 percent of the 3,287 total deaths and injuries resulting from air-launched explosive weapons.
The explosive weapons with a wide impact area that AOAV investigated in Yemen were those capable of projecting blast and fragmentation effects over a particularly large radius...When a bomb, rocket, mortar or shell explodes, in a matter of microseconds a devastating shock wave has rippled out at supersonic speeds, followed by a blast wind which is channelled, muffled or magnified in unpredictable ways by the obstacles of buildings, cars and people that crowd a densely-populated area.
Thousands of bombs have been dropped on Yemen by coalition forces in the past year. Many of these explosives have struck residential areas and vehicles, schools, mosques, and markets. Even when Houthi military installations are targeted, they are often located in densely-populated areas, resulting in heavy civilian casualties and damage to schools, hospitals, and homes. These attacks have been shown to be widespread and systematic, constituting a violation by the Saudi-led coalition of international humanitarian law.