Crisis Update: May 18, 2015

The conflict in Yemen currently has the country divided between the Houthi movement, supported by former president Saleh, which controls the north of the country (including the capital Sana’a) and continues its southward advance, and an anti-Houthi coalition based mainly in the South.  President Hadi of the transitional government fled to Saudi Arabia in March.

Yemen: Latest MSF Updates

A coalition of mainly Gulf states led by Saudi Arabia started airstrikes against the Houthi on March 26, with the declared aim of stopping the advance of the Houthi and to reinstate President Hadi. The Houthi are seen by Saudi Arabia as a proxy group for Iran. Other countries participating in this Saudi-led coalition against the Houthi are Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, UAE, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Sudan. Other countries, including the USA, are providing logistics and intelligence support.

While the political struggle unfolds, civilians are caught in the crossfire. The UN reports that in the month up to April 25 at least 1,080 people have been killed, over 4,350 have been injured, and 150,000 have been displaced, though MSF is unable to confirm this information.

MSF is responding to the needs of civilians affected by violence. There are currently 31 international and 534 Yemeni MSF staff on the ground. MSF has received more than 1,600 war-wounded in Aden, Amran, Hajja, and Al-Dhale'. It remains extremely difficult to move within the country to evaluate needs and provide assistance, due to the fighting and the airstrikes. MSF has brought more than 100 tons of humanitarian aid to the facilities it is running and supporting in Yemen. 

Haradh Town (Hajjah Governorate, Northern Yemen)

On March 30, 34 wounded people were brought to the MSF-supported hospital in Haradh after the attack on Al-Mazraq IDP Camp. Between April 21 and April 24 airstrikes and shelling in Haradh district caused 11 deaths and 67 injuries. The 67 wounded patients were treated by MSF medical staff in Haradh public hospital. The latest attack took place on the night of April 24, when several shells hit Haradh town. Large pieces of shrapnel landed less than 30 meters 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 population, with most of Haradh town’s remaining inhabitants abandoning their homes. The majority of staff and patients at the hospital have also fled.

The MSF team has been supporting Haradh hospital in the emergency room and the OT, and providing fuel and water, although it has been forced to evacuate several times .

Aden and the South

MSF is running independently an Emergency Surgical Hospital- within Al-Sadaqa Hospital compound in Sheikh Othman district - and has been supporting Crater Health Center with medication and fuel for the power generator. Since March 19, MSF has received more than 1,000 injured in Aden. The hospital includes sections of emergency, operating theatre, inpatient department, physiotherapy, psychotherapy, x-ray, laboratory and pharmacy. Soon, MSF will start outpatient surgical mobile clinics starting to provide outpatient care to surgical patients who cannot access MSF hospital for outpatient medical care. 

Sa'ada

MSF is supporting the ER, OT and maternity departments of Al Jumhuri hospital in Sa'ada town with an international and national medical team. MSF is also supporting Haidan Health Center with a doctor, referral system and medications and is planning further support for the facility.

Sana'a

MSF has been providing urgent support during emergencies to local hospitals through MoH. Following the blast in Noqum Mountain on May 11, MSF provided emergency materials and medications to Al-Thawra and Al-Jumhori Hospitals. MSF has similarly responded to several emergencies in Sana'a since the beginning of 2015.

Amran Governorate

Since last week, MSF started providing general consultations in mobile clinics for IDPs who fled their homes from several Yemeni areas. More than 320 general consultations were provided and the activity is still ongoing. In addition, MSF has provided support in several IDPs locations. The support included providing water tanks, water supplies, non-food items and hygiene kits for more than 500 IDP families located in 12 locations in Khamer. The IDP support activities also included health promotion among IDPs and cleaning the sewage system in the Central Market of Khamer.

MSF is actively supporting lifesaving and healthcare services to the patients in 12 departments of the MoH Al-Salam Hospital in the sections of emergency room, intensive care unit, surgical operations, pediatrics and in-patient therapeutic center, hospitalization, neonatal unit, delivery room, antenatal care, blood bank, laboratory, vaccination and the dressing room. MSF is also supporting Huth Health Center with medications, oxygen, logistic equipment, human resource support, and electricity and referral system.

Ad Dhale Governorate

MSF is still providing life-saving healthcare services in MoH Al-Nasser Hospital in Al-Dhale. The support includes emergency room, surgery, post-operative care, sterilization, laboratory, infection control, health care waste management and referrals.

In addition, MSF is supporting Al-Azarik Health Center in the emergency room, ante-natal care, post-natal care, family planning, normal deliveries, EPI, nutrition and referrals to Al-Nasser Hospital. In Qataba, MSF supports the emergency room, observation room, laboratory and health care waste management in MOH Al-Salam Hospital. MSF is also supporting several health centers and Jaffea and Al-Habilain Hospitals with medical supplies and equipment in the governorate.

Hajja

MSF is supporting IDPs with water, non-food items distributions and general medical consultations in the Health Center of Bani Hashim district. MSF also provided emergency and life-saving services for injured in Haradh Hospital.

Taiz

MSF has provided material support, emergency medications and surgical supplies to Al-Jumhori and Al-Rawdah hospitals that have received people affected by violence in the recent and ongoing conflict.  An MSF team is on the ground assessing further support required.

Medical Donations

MSF has made donations of medical supplies to hospitals in Sana’a, Aden, Saadah, Abyan, Taiz, and Lahj governorates since the start of the conflict.

In Lahj governorate, MSF donated dressing materials, IV fluids, anesthesia drugs, and oxygen to Habylyn hospital. Teams are planning to send another donation to Habylyn and Yaffa hospital in the coming days, as they are running out of some supplies. Donations were also sent to hospitals in Taiz.

Why are we there?

  • Armed conflict
  • Displacement
  • Massive flow of migrants

MSF in Yemen:

This is an excerpt from MSF-USA's 2013 Annual Report:

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 programs supported by 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 program in Amman, Jordan, which provides orthopedic, maxillofacial, and reconstructive plastic surgery.

Ad-Dali

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 sterilization 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, pediatric, 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 center in March, after six months’ suspension for security reasons. A team provided emergency, maternity, and inpatient care. In September, Huth became a stabilization center 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 program for migrants in detention also started in April.

Program handovers

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

At the end of 2013, MSF had 459 staff in Yemen. MSF has worked in the country since 1986.

Patient story

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 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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