Yemen: Dramatic Influx of Wounded Amid Fierce Fighting in Taiz


More than 400 war-wounded people, many of them civilians, have arrived at hospitals supported by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Taiz, Yemen, over the past week as intense fighting continues in the city. MSF warns that urban warfare in densely populated areas is having devastating consequences for civilians trapped between front lines.

The patients we are seeing in the emergency rooms are mainly suffering from injuries due to airstrikes, blasts, shelling, gunshots, snipers, and recently landmines," said Will Turner, MSF head of mission in Yemen. "Civilians in Taiz have suffered massively since fighting began here nearly a year ago, but with the intensity of the fighting growing over recent days and weeks, people in Taiz are at even greater risk of becoming caught up in the conflict."

MSF has made repeated calls to the warring groups to protect civilians and respect medical facilities.  

"We hear heartbreaking stories from our patients and colleagues," said Turner. "An old man was living a simple life with his children when his house was hit by the force of a shell blast. Three of his children were wounded, while the fourth will be paralyzed for the rest of his life. A mother of three was killed by gunfire while collecting water for her children. A family of six was killed in an airstrike that destroyed their house while they were sleeping. These incidents are a small fraction of the reality faced by people on a day-to-day basis in Taiz."

There have been reports of hospitals being damaged or coming under attack by the different warring groups in various areas of Taiz in recent weeks, making it even more difficult for people to access urgently needed medical care.

MSF calls once again on all warring parties to provide protection for civilians; facilitate access to medical facilities for all the sick and wounded; allow humanitarian and medical supplies into all areas; and protect medical staff and health facilities.

As an impartial and neutral medical humanitarian organization, MSF manages and supports more than 25 hospitals throughout Yemen, providing medical care to people irrespective of their religious, tribal, political or military affiliations. More than 31,000 war-wounded patients have been treated in MSF-supported hospitals in Yemen since March 2015, when the most recent conflict started.

Further Reading: MSF Treats more than 40 Wounded Following Deadly Airstrike on Marketplace in Yemen

MSF Medical team leader, Crystal Vanleeuwen in front of the outpatient department in Al-Thawra hospital in the besieged area of Taiz. A siege has been imposed on the city by Houthis since late August 2015. MSF was not able to enter medical aid into the enclave area for five months. Only on January 16th, MSF got the authorization and delivered medical aid to Al-Thawra hospital inside the enclave area.