AMSTERDAM/TAIZ, YEMEN—Airstrikes carried out yesterday by the Saudi-led coalition hit a clinic in southern Yemen run by the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and wounded nine people, including two MSF staff members.
According to local sources, at 11:20 a.m. local time on December 2, three airstrikes targeted a park in Taiz city's Al Houban district, about two kilometers from MSF's tented clinic. The MSF team immediately evacuated the Al Houban clinic and informed the Saudi-led coalition that their jet planes were mounting an attack nearby. The clinic itself then came under attack.
Those wounded in the airstrikes, including two with critical injuries, were transferred to Al Qaidah and Al Resalah hospitals. MSF is supporting both hospitals in treating war-wounded patients.
"I was in MSF's mother and child hospital in Taiz, just one kilometer away from Al Houban clinic, when we heard the airstrikes," said Nora Echaibi, MSF's medical team leader in Taiz. "Everyone was scared. We evacuated the teams as soon as possible."
At MSF's clinic in Al Houban, staff provided urgent medical care to people displaced from their homes by the current conflict. The Saudi-led coalition had been informed about the precise location and the activities carried out by MSF in Al Houban.
"The health structure's GPS coordinates were regularly shared with the Saudi-led coalition, most recently on November 29, when we informed them about this specific activity in Al Houban," said Jerome Alin, MSF head of mission in Yemen. "There is no way that the Saudi-led coalition could have been unaware of the presence of MSF activities in this location."
MSF has been providing those hospitals in Taiz that are still functioning with emergency medications, surgical supplies, and practical support since May 2015. An MSF team provided care at the clinic in Al Houban for the past two months and had treated 480 patients there in the previous two days.
"The bombing of civilians and hospitals is a violation of international humanitarian law," said Alin. "Civilians seeking health care and medical facilities must be respected."
A previous airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition hit and destroyed an MSF-supported hospital in the Haydan District of Sa'ada Province on October 26.
MSF teams are working in eight Yemeni governorates (Sana'a, Sa'ada, Aden, Taiz, Amran, Al Dhale, Ibb, and Hajja). Since the start of the current crisis in March 2015, MSF teams have treated more than 16,000 war-wounded patients. With the health care system barely functioning, MSF is also providing non-emergency health services. MSF provides impartial and free of charge health services to those in need in more than 70 countries around the world.