MSF set up a hospital in the city of Mocha, in Taïz governorate, in August 2018, to perform emergency surgery for people suffering war wounds and women suffering complications during pregnancy. From August to December 2018, MSF teams in Mocha treated more than 150 people wounded by mines, improvised explosive devices and unexploded ordnance—one third of them children, who had been playing in fields.
Current mine clearance efforts in the area are managed by the military and are focused on roads and strategic infrastructure, paying little heed to civilian areas such as agricultural fields. Civilians are the principal victims of the mines and explosive devices in the area, as many are killed or maimed for life.
By creating generations of maimed people, mines have far-reaching repercussions—not only for individual families, but for society as a whole, as their victims are likely to be more dependent on others and more socially isolated.
Ali, an 18-year-old from a small village in a rural and very poor area near Mawza, was wounded two months ago when he stepped on a land mine in a field near his house. His right leg was amputated under his knee, compounding difficulties he had with a weak left leg due to polio in childhood. He now comes to MSF's hospital in Mocha for physiotherapy twice a week.
Not a day goes by without war-wounded people like Ali arriving at MSF's hospital from the front lines between Taïz and Hodeidah. It is the only facility in the region with an operating theater and the capacity to perform surgery.
"The war-wounded often get to Mocha very late and many are in a critical condition," said Husni Abdallah, a nurse in the operating theater. "They contract infections because on the front line they aren't always stabilized as well as they should be. Mines cause particularly severe injuries, so we see complex fractures that are difficult to operate on. Patients often have to have amputations and then require months and months of rehabilitation."