Numerous people were hurt, with 13 of them in severe condition, according to a health official in Sanaa. [Representational image] Chadchai Ra-ngubpai/Gettyimages

Officials report that during the distribution of charity for Ramadan, there was a crush that left at least 78 people dead at a school in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen.

Social media videos of the aftermath of the incident in the city's Bab-al-Yemen neighborhood depict a chaotic scene.

Hundreds of people reportedly crammed into the school to receive donations, which averaged about $9 (£7) per person, according to the Reuters news agency.

Since they overthrew the government in 2015, Houthi rebels have controlled the city.

The interior ministry reported that those in charge of the distribution have been taken into custody and an inquiry is ongoing, BBC reported.

A ministry spokeswoman attributed the crowding to the "random distribution" of cash without consulting local authorities.

Numerous people were hurt, with 13 of them in severe condition, according to a health official in Sanaa.

"Women and children were among the dead," a Houthi security official told AFP news agency on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

According to two witnesses cited by the Associated Press news agency, Houthi militants fired into the air to disperse the gathering and appeared to have hit an electrical wire, which caused an explosion.

They stated that this sparked panic, which resulted in the crush.

It occurred ahead of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the conclusion of Ramadan later this week, and was Yemen's bloodiest incident in years that was unrelated to the long-running conflict in the nation, reports AP News.

Yemen basics

  • A conflict that worsened in 2015 when the Houthis took over huge portions of the country's west, including the capital, has left Yemen in ruins.
  • The conflict, which is commonly perceived as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, has claimed the lives of more than 150,000 people.
  • Three-quarters of the population, or more than 23 million individuals, need assistance.
  • The current location of Yemen's official government is Aden, while the country's president is based in Saudi Arabia.

The incident took place in the closing days of Ramadan, a holy month for Muslims that includes a period of fasting.

A significant prisoner exchange between the warring parties in Yemen began last week, which is thought to be part of increased efforts to put an end to the bloody eight-year conflict.

The Houthi Supreme Evolutionary Committee's Mohamed Ali al-Houthi attributed Wednesday's crush to the nation's humanitarian catastrophe.

He stated on Twitter that "We hold the countries of aggression responsible for what happened and for the bitter reality that the Yemeni people live in because of the aggression and blockade."

Video shared on social media showed dozens of bodies, some of which were still and wailing while rescuers attempted to calm them.

Houthi officials published more videos of the aftermath, which showed bloodstains, shoes, and clothing from the victims lying around. Investigators were seen examining the area.

According to witnesses, people had gathered to receive money from local businessmen-funded charities.

Especially during Ramadan, wealthy individuals and businesspeople frequently give money and food to the underprivileged.

The rebels promptly banned anybody, including journalists, from entering the school where the ceremony was being held.

Two organizers had been detained, according to the Interior Ministry, and an investigation was ongoing.

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