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MSF in Yemen , 2009
Field Staff: 248
Reason for Intervention:
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In August, the conflict between the armed group Al-Houthi and Yemeni armed forces broke out again in the northern governorate of Saada. This war was the most intense in recent years, and caused the displacement of at least 150,000 people. This is in addition to 100,000 others who had already been displaced by previous wars (UNHCR, 2009) and are still trapped in the region. MSF has been working to provide care for displaced people, migrants and refugees.
Dealing with the consequences of the Saada war in northern Yemen was a priority for MSF in 2009. Health structures throughout the governorate were affected, and most of them had to interrupt their activities or became very difficult to access. Therefore, MSF worked to provide healthcare to rural communities while also helping the Yemeni authorities and other relief organizations to cope with the medical needs caused by the displacement of more than 150,000 people in neighboring governorates.
MSF set up an emergency program for displaced people seeking refuge in the northern village of Mandabah in Saada, providing water and medical care for more than 10,000 people. More than 1,500 consultations were carried out, and more than 50 people were hospitalized in the first six months.
Despite difficult safety conditions and logistical challenges, MSF and Ministry of Health teams were able to provide healthcare. In two hospitals not far from the city of Saada, more than 31,000 consultations were carried out and 2,100 people were hospitalized. More than 550 children were admitted to the nutritional program and 700 women were assisted in giving birth.
However the insecurity has caused regular interruptions to MSF’s work and compromised our ability to reach those most in need.
According to the UN refugee agency UNHCR, about 90,000 displaced people had grouped in the Hajjah governorate. MSF found that eight per cent of children under five years old were malnourished in the al-Mazraq camp. Teams opened a nutrition intervention program in the area and, within two months, more than 550 children had received treatment.
Many migrants, refugees and asylum seekers from the Horn of Africa continue to seek refuge in Yemen. The harsh conditions of the trip and sea accidents cause hundreds of deaths, and the state of health of those who do manage to reach the Yemeni coast is often poor. Around 9,000 people received medical assistance from MSF in Abyan and Shabwah governorates in the south of the country.
MSF also started activities in Mandabah, a remote village close to the Saudi border, where almost 10,000 displaced people had regrouped fleeing the fighting. Comprehensive healthcare are provided for the displaced and resident population.
MSF has worked in Yemen since 2007.