MSF UK doctor Natalie Roberts

"This is the first place I’ve been to where I haven’t met a journalist at all. This is a conflict that’s just not in the public eye. I feel like the whole world needs to understand what’s going on."

Natalie RobertsMSF doctor in north Yemen

Yemen is in the midst of a civil war. Since March 2015, a Saudi-led coalition has been fighting anti-government Houthi forces, resulting in widespread destruction, bombing and gun battles. Ordinary people are bearing the brunt of an increasingly brutal conflict.

Severe water shortages combined with airstrikes, sniper attacks and a fuel blockade have rapidly turned this conflict into a humanitarian crisis, with over one million people displaced from their homes.

The need for food, water, shelter, sanitation and medical care is growing daily.

Many clinics and hospitals have been destroyed, and those that are still functioning are in urgent need of more medical supplies.

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This page attempts to give an overview of the deeply concerning situation in Yemen today and what we are doing to help. Use the links below to hear from our staff and patients, find out more about our work prior to the conflict, and the latest news from MSF.

Crisis information

At the end of March 2016:

  • We received more than 37,000 war wounded since March 2015
  • More than 15,000 surgeries performed in MSF facilities.
  • More than 49,000 medical consultations provided for displaced people in MSF mobile clinics
  • More than 10,000 women gave birth in MSF facilities
  • More than 144,000 patients seen in the emergency room
  • More than 1,100 tonnes of medical supplies sent to Yemen

MSF is carrying out activities in or supporting 11 hospitals and health centres, and is providing support to another 18 hospitals or health centres in eight governorates: Aden, Al-Dhale’, Taiz, Saada, Amran, Hajjah, Ibb and Sana’a governorates.

A total of 2,102 MSF staff are currently working in Yemen – 97 international staff and 2,005 Yemeni staff – making it among MSF´s largest missions in terms of personnel.

Natalie Roberts, an MSF UK doctor in Yemen

MSF UK doctor Natalie Roberts

"An airplane flying overhead has just bombed a few hundred metres away and is still circling. I’m not quite sure what it’s targeting, but just in case it makes a mistake with our car, we all get out and crouch around the corner," writes Natalie Roberts in her MSF blog.

"The plane drops three bombs nearby and then flies off again and we get back in the car and on our way.

"But it gave us all a bit of a fright. I think it’s pretty normal to be scared in a situation like that.

We’re helping set up an emergency room inside a health centre, which is the size of a small British GP’s surgery.
Since the conflict started, they’ve been seeing 40-50 wounded patients a week.


Hear more from our staff on our MSF Yemen blog

"It’s difficult, but there is a reason for making these trips on these dangerous roads. You go to these places and you realise nobody else medical has managed to get there to help.

"I was in Syria before, and I’ve worked in Ukraine and other warzones. This feels similar to Syria in lots of ways, with the destruction done by the airstrikes.

"The injuries you see are very similar, and you never get used to that. And you shouldn’t ever get used to that, particularly when the violence is affecting children or women who are just going about their normal lives.

Follow @MSF_uk and @msf_yemen on Twitter
to keep up to date with the crisis as it unfolds.


MSF's activities in Yemen: 2014

High levels of poverty and unemployment combined with continuous insecurity made it difficult for Yemenis to access healthcare prior to today's conflict.

MSF in Yemen 2014

91,000 outpatient consultations
4,300 surgical interventions
720 patients on first-line ARV treatment
£7.2m expenditure
562 MSF staff

Basic healthcare and lifesaving surgical care is provided by Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Al Azaraq and Qataba’a districts of Ad Dhale governorate.

More than 47,000 outpatient consultations took place in 2014.

Amran governorate

Our teams in Amran continued to support Al-Salam hospital, providing emergency, maternity, inpatient and outpatient services and assisting in the laboratory and blood bank.

More than 2,300 surgical interventions and 25,300 emergency consultations were carried out, 5,200 patients were admitted to hospital and over 2,500 babies were delivered during the year.


Our emergency surgical unit in Aden re-established networks of medical referrals from Abyan, Ad Dhale, Lahj and Shabwah – places frequently affected by violence and increased surgical needs.

More than 2,000 emergency consultations, 1,600 surgical procedures and 5,600 physiotherapy sessions were completed.

Rapid emergency response

We set up a team to provide rapid medical aid following violence and other emergencies.

Medical supplies were donated to clinics and hospitals, relief items were distributed to people forced to leave their homes by conflict and direct care was offered to victims of violence and the displaced.

Reducing HIV stigma

Lack of knowledge about HIV/AIDS among healthcare providers has been the main cause of stigma and discrimination in Yemen.

We trained staff in seven hospitals as part of its work with the National AIDS Programme and its advocacy resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of people getting tested for HIV, including pregnant women, and in the number of HIV-positive patients admitted to Al Gumhuri hospital in Sana’a.


Patient story

Mohamed, from Shabwah

Mohamed, from Shabwah

My nephew was shot during gunfire in Shabwah. There was no hospital … nothing in the area. The only place we could bring him was here [MSF’s hospital in Aden].

We sincerely thank MSF for the unconditional medical care they offered to him and to everybody in this hospital.

Latest news

A map of MSF's activities in Yemen, as of June 2015

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