The UN chief Antonio Guterres called for a prompt independent investigation into the airstrike, UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore issued a powerful statement condemning the attack.
She said: “The horrific attack on a bus in Saada, Yemen, reportedly killing and maiming scores of children, marks a low point in the country’s brutal war.
“The question now is whether it will also be a turning point – the moment that must finally push the warring parties, UN Security Council and international community to do what’s right for children and bring an end to this conflict.”
Meritxell Relano, UNICEF’s representative in Yemen, told Sky News: “This is the worst single attack ever on children since the conflict in Yemen escalated in 2015. Despite our repeated calls for respect of international humanitarian law, parties to the conflict in Yemen have acted with utter disregard.
Britain has expressed “deep concern” over an airstrike that hit a bus carrying children in Yemen. At least 50 people were killed in the attack on a market in Saada on Thursday, according to the Houthi-controlled health department.
The attack has been blamed on the Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt tweeted: “Deeply concerned by reports of yesterday’s attack in Sa’ada, Yemen resulting in tragic deaths of so many children.
“Transparent investigation required. UK calls on all parties to prevent civilian casualties and to cooperate with UN to reach a lasting political solution in Yemen.”