Yemen: Working Amidst the Bombing of Sa'ada


Along with the remaining population of Sa’ada, a Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) team in the city spent last night under intense bombing by the military coalition led by Saudi Arabia that is fighting in Yemen. On Friday night, the coalition had given an ultimatum to the population to leave the city and its surrounding areas, declaring that the entire northern province would become a military target [Read MSF's response to the ultimatum here].

The following account comes from Teresa Sancristóval, MSF emergency coordinator, who is part of the team that worked through the night at the Al Gumhury hospital in Sa'ada: 

“The bombing has been quite intense. More than 20 bombs have hit different buildings in the city, which has already suffered a huge level of destruction in recent weeks. There have been reports of 140 bombs being dropped on the city in a single day.

"Even though the city is noticeably emptier,” she continued, “many people were not aware of the order of evacuation; it hasn't been heard by the entire population. There is no electricity, no working telephones and yesterday there was a huge storm...

“We fear that everyone wasn't aware of the ultimatum. Even at the hospital last night we had seven women giving birth; five of them had to flee from the hospital because of the intensity of the airstrikes. 

"Some people were leaving the city in trucks, but many were leaving on foot, as there is no fuel due to the blockade,” she added.

"Although many people had already left the town, the population that remains in the city are very scared and worried. The market, storage facilities and government buildings have been destroyed and many civilians are suffering the consequences. At the hospital, where those severely injured are brought in, the majority of the staff works and lives in the hospital.”

The MSF team has been working at the hospital thourought the night as “due to the bombing there was a need to reestructure the services to ensure their safety,” Sancristóval  said. “The hospital is running out of safe places, so for example the maternity ward is now also pediatric and IPD [inpatient department] for women.”

The streets of Sa'ada after the first wave of bombings.
The streets of Sa'ada after the first wave of bombings.