Yemen Crisis

    Update: 14 May 2015

    First person account from Aden

    I don’t really know how I can describe the situation in Aden in one word other than tragic.

    All the time we hear bombings and airstrikes. Windows at the hospital have been broken many times.

    The hospital and the ambulance have been hit by stray bullets as snipers are present in the surrounding area and fighting is still ongoing.

    Aden has changed 180 degrees. The airport is damaged now. Many areas have been demolished.

    When you walk in the city you feel shocked and you do not believe you are in Aden. We are expecting death from anywhere and everywhere.

    Read the full story

    Update: 9 May 2015

    First person account from Saada under the bombs

    An MSF team spent a night the city of Saada under intense bombing from the Saud-led coalition.

    On Friday night the coalition told the population to leave the city and surrounding areas as the province was a military target.

    Teresa Sancristóval, MSF emergency coordinator, worked through the night at the Al Gumhury hospital, Saada:

    Intense bombing

    “The bombing has been quite intense; more than 20 bombs hit buildings in the city, which has already suffered a huge destruction in recent weeks. There have been reports of 140 bombs being dropped on the city in a single day.

    "Even though the city is noticeably emptier many people were not aware of the order of evacuation – it hasn't been heard by the entire population.

    “There is no electricity, no working telephones and yesterday there was a huge storm... we fear that everyone wasn't aware of the ultimatum.

    “Even at the hospital last night we had seven women giving birth, five of them had to flee from the hospital because of the intensity of the airstrikes.

    "Some people were leaving the city in trucks, but many were leaving on foot, as there is no fuel due to the blockade.

    Destruction and healthcare

    "Although many people had already left the town, the population that remains in the city are very scared and worried. The market, storage facilities and government buildings have been destroyed and many civilians are suffering the consequences.

    “At the hospital, where those severely injured are brought in, the majority of the staff works and live in the hospital”.

    The MSF team has been working at the hospital through the night:

    “Due to the bombing there was a need to restructure the services to ensure their safety. The hospital is running out of safe places so, for example, the maternity ward is now also paediatric and IPD for women"

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    A map of MSF's activities in Yemen, 2013.

    Yemen Crisis: In-depth

    Response in the south

    Clashes continue in the southern city of Aden where MSF is running its Emergency Surgical Unit.

    There are continued street battles as well as shelling from the ground, air and sea in some areas.

    There have been electricity, water and fuel shortages in the city and communications networks are often down.

    Since 19 March MSF has received more than 775 injured at the hospital.

    But, since the beginning of April, the number of patients has decreased to around 10 per day, despite the clashes continuing and increasing in some areas, pointing to difficulties in access to the hospital.

    On 19 April, more than 30 wounded were treated at Al Nasser and Qataba hospitals in Ad Dhale in southern Yemen.

    On 20th April, an ambulance trying to refer two patients from a clinic in Lahj to our hospital in Aden was stopped at a checkpoint and turned back; one patient later died.

    Medical support in the north

    On 20 April a huge explosion in south west Sana’a caused 574 injuries and 39 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health.

    The injured were received by at least 10 hospitals in Sana'a, three of which were supported by MSF with donations of dressing kits, drugs and medical supplies.

    Psychological support for victims was also provided at one of these hospitals, and 1,000 litres of fuel was donated to another.

    Between 21 April and 24 April airstrikes and shelling in Haradh district have caused 11 deaths and 67 wounded. The 67 wounded were treated by MSF medical staff in Haradh public hospital. 

    The latest attack took place on the night of 24 April, when several shells hit Haradh town. Large pieces of shrapnel landed less than 30 metres from Haradh public hospital, as medical staff received the first wounded. Nine injured arrived at the hospital; two of them died. 

    The attacks have provoked a mass movement of people with most of Haradh town’s remaining inhabitants abandoning their homes. 

    Since 19 March 19 MSF’s Qataba and Al Nasser hospitals in Ad-Dhale have received 350 war wounded patients. Referrals between the hospitals for specialised treatment, remain extremely difficult.

    The MSF hospital in Amran has received around 40 injured in the town of Khamer, due to airstrikes in Amran governorate. This included 30 injured who were treated on 15 April after an airstrike on the town of Huth.

    Our teams are also concerned about people in remote areas of Amran governorate being unable to access the hospital in Khamer due to difficulty of transport and shortage of fuel. We are seeing less patients from Al-Asha and Al-Qafla districts and are particularly concerned for women from these areas with complicated pregnancies.

    There has been no electricity in Khamer for two weeks. In the town of Huth, where MSF supports the health center, staff and patients are scared to go to the health center.

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    Our work

    Why are we there?

    • Armed conflict
    • Displacement
    • Massive flow of migrants

    Background: 2013

    This is an extract from our latest Activity Report, looking back on our work in the previous year.

    There was a significant deterioration in living conditions in parts of Yemen in 2013, and insecurity towards the end of the year affected availability and accessibility of healthcare.

    Insecurity affected programmes supported by Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), further cutting people off from healthcare, and activities had to be suspended twice in Amran and once in Aden.

    Over 150 Yemeni patients were sent from Yemen to MSF’s reconstructive surgery programme in Amman, Jordan, which provides orthopaedic, maxillofacial and reconstructive plastic surgery (for more details, see Jordan).


    MSF continued to work in Ad-Dali governorate, but problems with security caused significant disruptions to the provision of healthcare there at the end of the year. Food shortages and maternal and child health are of great concern in the area.

    Teams worked with local communities, both rural and urban, providing care for victims of violence and trauma.

    Emergency services, including surgery, were available at the Al Naser general hospital, Ad-Dali city, and patients received basic healthcare and lifesaving surgery in Al Azaraq and Qataba’a districts. More than 41,704 consultations were carried out.

    Aden and the south

    In Aden, more than 2,500 surgeries were performed and 860 patients received post-surgery follow-up and physiotherapy at MSF’s emergency surgical unit, which treated victims of violence from Aden as well as the nearby governorates of Lahj, Abyan, Shabwah and Ad Dhale.

    A weekly clinic was run for inmates at Aden central prison, and 80 patients were seen each month.

    Staff support and supplies were provided to hospitals in Lawdar and Jaar in Abyan governorate. Teams also trained emergency room staff and sterilisation technicians.

    Amran governorate

    Access to healthcare decreases progressively in the rural areas of Amran governate and ceases to exist for communities in the valleys.

    At Al-Salam hospital, Khamir, MSF is involved in the emergency, surgery, maternity, paediatric, inpatient and intensive care departments, and collaborates closely with the Ministry of Health to improve medical services.

    Support is also provided for the blood bank and laboratory. There was a dramatic rise in surgery patients towards the end of the year after violence intensified in the governorate. More than 1,940 surgical procedures were performed, and 4,080 people were admitted to hospital. Teams carried out 21,980 emergency consultations.

    MSF resumed its support of the Huth health centre in March, after six months’ suspension for security reasons.

    A team provided emergency, maternity and inpatient care. In September, Huth became a stabilisation centre for managing large influxes of wounded people, providing emergency care and a referral system.

    To assist the communities in remote areas with very limited access to healthcare, teams ran mobile clinics in the Osman and Akhraf valleys, carrying out 5,350 consultations and treating 427 patients for malaria.

    Caring for migrants in Sana’a

    MSF began providing HIV care to people in Sana’a in 2013. A mental health programme for migrants in detention also started in April.

    Programme handovers

    In February, MSF handed over activities at the Radfan hospital, Lahj governorate, to the Ministry of Health. A programme offering healthcare at Haradh, Hajjah governorate was closed in August. 

    At the end of 2013, MSF had 459 staff in Yemen. MSF first started working in the country in 1986.

    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.

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