Buthaina is six years old. On 25th August, her parents, four sisters and brother were all killed in a missile strike launched by the Saudi-led coalition.
The coalition said a “technical error” was to blame.
The strike destroyed her home, collapsed two other buildings and killed 16 others – eight of them young children – in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa.
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Buthaina is now in hospital after being pulled from the rubble of her family house by her uncle, Waheed, who has now stepped in to care for her.
Despite badly bruised eyes, concussion, a fractured skull and being unable to walk – doctors are hopeful for a full recovery. Save the Children are funding her treatment and will provide her with long-term psychological counselling.
A technical error
Our country team spoke with Waheed, who recalled the horrific night of the attack:
“When I first saw the house, I fainted and fell on the floor. They gave me some water. I regained consciousness. I pulled myself together because I was hoping I could get at least one of them out alive.
The first body we pulled out was my cousin’s, then came my brother Mohammed’s wife, then her eldest daughter Alaa. When I saw Alaa, I was in pieces.
Then came Aya. I took Aya to the hospital. Her body was warm so we thought she was still alive. We took her to the hospital and checked her pulse, but there was none. I tried to feel near her heart and I felt a hole. Under her vest, I felt the shrapnel above her heart. I was completely paralysed in my place in the ambulance. I couldn’t move. We went back to where the massacre took place, and then we pulled out the rest of the bodies. Buthaina is like a daughter to me and more. She is what is left of my brother.”
A spokesperson from the coalition defended the attack:
“A technical error was the reason for the unintentional accident and the house in question was not directly targeted”.
Saudi planes dropping British bombs
Britain has approved £3.8 billion of arms licences to Saudi Arabia since the conflict escalated in March 2015.
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