November 21, 2016

After intense fighting yesterday in Taiz, Yemen, emergency rooms managed or supported by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) received 76 war-wounded patients and another 21 people who were dead on arrival, including one off-duty MSF staff person.

It was the first day of a newly announced ceasefire in Yemen.

Most of the patients suffered fractures, severe burns, open wounds and lacerations as well as internal injuries. The wounded and dead were received on both sides of the front line, in hospitals and trauma centers managed or supported by MSF in Taiz.

“One of our colleagues who works as watchman at the MSF trauma center in Taiz was killed while he was off duty when a blast hit a local market in the neighborhood,” said Djoen Besselink, MSF head of mission in Yemen. “It is another heartbreaking example of a hardworking citizen affected by this ongoing conflict. We are deeply saddened by the loss of our colleague and extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and his friends.”

Fighting has been intense in Taiz during recent days, and the hospitals on both sides of the front line have received a continuous influx of war-wounded civilians and fighters.

In the last 19 months of the conflict, Taiz has witnessed some of the heaviest and most sustained fighting in Yemen. This has had a profound impact on the medical and humanitarian situation in the city. The few functioning hospitals that remain lack staff and essential supplies, and access to health care for the wounded and sick is severely compromised by the active front lines.

Since May 2015, MSF has treated more than 10,000 war-wounded patients in Taiz alone. Last month, hospitals managed or supported by MSF in Taiz received nearly 500 patients with violence-related injuries, of which 23 percent were women and children.

“What’s happening in Yemen is totally unacceptable,” Besselink said. “Many of the wounded were, as reported by the patients or their caretakers, at home, at the market or on the way to their fields when they fell victim to airstrikes, shelling or gunshots.”

MSF strongly reiterates its call to all warring parties in Yemen to respect the fundamental principles of humanitarian law by ensuring the protection of civilians and medical services.

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