JUNE 14, 2016 – Two months into a ceasefire in Yemen, civilians continue to be severely affected by violence in the city of Taiz, according to the medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).
Since the ceasefire started in April, medical facilities run or supported by MSF have treated 1,624 people with injuries caused by the intense fighting in Taiz. More than 700 are civilians.
Taiz has seen some of the fiercest fighting since the escalation of the conflict 15 months ago, with daily shelling, airstrikes, bomb blasts, landmine explosions and sniper fire. Fighting and shelling take place in densely populated parts of the city.
None of the warring parties appear to be making an effort to prevent casualties among civilians.
“On June 3, we received 122 wounded in our supported facilities, with the majority coming as a result of a missile which hit a crowded market in Taiz,” said Salah Dongu’du, MSF project coordinator in Taiz. “An additional 12 people were dead on arrival or wounded so seriously that they died soon after arriving at the emergency room. The vast majority were for sure civilians. The next day another 135 people came in with war wounds. There is simply no let-up in the violence.”
No matter where in the city, the impact on residents is felt by all, with people losing family members, homes and livelihoods while living in constant fear with no choice than to just go on with their lives. Meanwhile the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate. Access to health care is severely limited. There is no electricity, the streets are piled with garbage, and food and other commodities are only available at inflated prices.
“Recently, I walked into one of the emergency rooms where our teams are working,” said Will Turner, MSF head of mission. “In front of me were two young children lying in beds next to each other. The boy had been hit by a bullet in the neck as he left the mosque; the girl next to him had her stomach ripped open by a bullet as she waited to collect water. Such tragic stories occur on a daily basis in Taiz. This is totally unacceptable.”
MSF calls on all warring parties in Yemen to take far greater measures to protect civilians and calls for all actors, whether they are participating in the ongoing peace talks in Kuwait or not, to reduce the intense level of conflict and facilitate unrestricted humanitarian access in Taiz at all times.
As an impartial and neutral medical humanitarian organization, MSF supports and runs 30 hospitals in eight governorates across Yemen, treating people irrespective of their religious, tribal, political or military affiliations. More than 40,000 war-wounded patients have been treated in MSF-supported hospitals across Yemen since March 2015.