Doctors Without Borders-supported hospital bombed in northern Yemen
SANA’A, YEMEN – A hospital in northern Yemen supported by the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) was hit by a projectile this morning, killing four people, wounding 10 and causing the collapse of several buildings of the medical facility. Three of the injured are MSF staff members, two of whom are in critical condition.
According to MSF staff members on the ground, at 9:20 a.m. one projectile struck the Shiara Hospital in Razeh district, where MSF has been working since November 2015. MSF cannot confirm the origin of the attack, but planes were seen flying over the facility at the time. At least one more projectile fell near the hospital.
The number of casualties could rise as there could still be people trapped in the rubble. All staff and patients have evacuated and patients are being transferred to Al Goumoury hospital in Saada [northwest Yemen], also supported by MSF.
“All warring parties, including the Saudi-led coalition, are regularly informed of the GPS coordinates of the medical sites where MSF works, and we are in constant dialogue with them to ensure that they understand the severity of the humanitarian consequences of the conflict and the need to respect the provision of medical services,” said Raquel Ayora, MSF director of operations.
“There is no way that anyone with the capacity to carry out an airstrike or launch a rocket would not have known that the Shiara Hospital was a functioning health facility providing critical services and supported by MSF. We reiterate to all parties to the conflict that patients and medical facilities must be respected and that bombing hospitals is a violation of international humanitarian law.”
The conflict is particularly acute in Razeh district. The population of the area has been severely affected by constant bombings and the cumulative weight of 10 months of war. Shiara Hospital had already been bombed before MSF started supporting it, and services were reduced to stabilization, emergency, maternity and lifesaving activities.
This is the third severe incident in an MSF health facility in Yemen in the last three months. On October 27, Haydan hospital was destroyed by an airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition (SLC) and on December 3 a health center in Taiz was also hit by the SLC, wounding nine people. MSF teams struggle on a daily basis to ensure respect for health facilities by all armed groups.
“We strongly condemn this incident that confirms a worrying pattern of attacks on essential medical services and express our strongest outrage, as this will leave a very fragile population without health care for weeks,” said Ayora. “Once more it is civilians who bear the brunt of this war.”
MSF asks for an immediate end to attacks on medical structures and requests that all parties unequivocally commit to creating the conditions for the safe delivery of humanitarian assistance. MSF also requests that those responsible for this attack investigate the circumstances of the incident.
In Yemen, MSF is working in Aden, Al-Dhale’, Taiz, Saada, Amran, Hajjah, Ibb and Sana’a governorates. Since the start of the current crisis in March 2015, MSF teams have treated more than 20,000 war-wounded patients. More than 790 tons of medical supplies have been sent by MSF so far. MSF is managing 11 hospitals and health centers and supports 18 health centers. With the health care system barely functioning, MSF is also providing non-emergency health services.
Hospital aided by Doctors Without Borders is bombed in Yemen
By Kareem Fahim, New York Times, Jan 10, 2016
CAIRO — A hospital in northern Yemen supported by the medical charity Doctors Without Borders was struck by ordnance early Sunday, killing at least four people and causing several buildings to collapse, the organization said in a statement. It was the third time in three months that a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Yemen had been damaged or destroyed. At least 10 people were wounded in the latest attack, including three staff members.
The medical charity said it could not confirm which party in Yemen’s civil war had fired what it called a “projectile,” but said that “planes were seen flying over the facility at the time.” A military coalition led by Saudi Arabia controls the skies over Yemen, and has carried out thousands of bombing runs in the country since entering the war last March. At least one other projectile fell near the hospital, Doctors Without Borders said.
The hospital, called Shiara, is in the northern Saada Province, in the Razeh District, near the border with Saudi Arabia. Fierce fighting along the frontier between Saudi troops and Yemen’s Houthi rebels has devastated many border towns and displaced thousands of people, according to aid workers. Attacks on clinics and hospitals have left the province with only one major medical facility, forcing people to travel hours to receive even basic treatment.
In October, coalition warplanes destroyed a Doctors Without Borders clinic in Haydan District, near Razeh [October 27]. Then, on December 3, the coalition bombed one of the group’s mobile clinics in southern Taiz Province. The Shiara hospital was bombed previously, in September, before Doctors Without Borders became involved with it, the group said.
“All warring parties, including the Saudi-led coalition, are regularly informed of the GPS coordinates of the medical facilities where M.S.F. works,” said Raquel Ayora, the director of operations for Doctors Without Borders, in the statement referring to the group by its French abbreviation.
“We are in constant dialogue with them to ensure that they understand the severity of the humanitarian consequences of the conflict and the need to respect the provision of medical services,” she said. “There is no way that anyone with the capacity to carry out an airstrike or launch a rocket would not have known that the Shiara Hospital was a functioning health facility providing critical services and supported by MSF.”
The Saudi-led coalition is fighting to restore the Yemeni president, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who was driven from power last year by the Houthi rebels, a group from northern Yemen. More than 2,800 civilians have been killed in the fighting so far, with the majority of people killed by coalition bombing, according to the United Nations. [See below: ‘Civilian casualties top 8,100 in Yemen as airstrikes and shellings continue, UN News Centre, Jan 5, 2016.]
The Saudi-led coalition, which is backed by the United States and Britain, came under renewed criticism last week for dropping cluster munitions on Sana’a, the Yemeni capital, killing at least one person.
Human Rights Watch said on Sunday that the Houthis had detained dozens of political opponents and journalists in Sana’a, which the rebels control. Some of the opponents had vanished with their whereabouts a mystery to their families, the group said. Many of the detainees belonged to Islah, an Islamist political party that opposes the Houthis, Human Rights Watch said.
Doctors without Borders hospital hit in Yemen; five killed, CNN, Jan 11, 2016
Civilian casualties top 8,100 in Yemen as airstrikes and shellings continue, UN News Center, Jan 5, 2016
‘UN High Commissioner for Human Rights spokesperson Rupert Colville…. put civilian casualties recorded between 26 March and 31 December, 2015 at 8,119 people, 2,795 of them killed and 5,324 wounded, noting that at least 62 civilians were reported killed by airstrikes attributed to coalition forces in December, more than twice the number of November.’
Saudi Arabia can’t get its story straight on the MSF hospital destroyed in Yemen, VICE News, Oct 29, 2015
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