NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 7, 2018—The international medical humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) today announced the closure of its project in Ad Dhale governorate, in southern Yemen, due to repeated attacks and threats of violence.
“Humanitarian organizations must be able to provide much-needed medical humanitarian assistance without being threatened with violence. This has not been respected in the Ad Dhale town,” said Ton Berg, MSF Head of Mission in Yemen. “There have been multiple security incidents directly targeting patients, staff, and MSF-supported medical facilities in the area. After this series of serious incidents, we are left with no choice but to close all medical and humanitarian activities in Ad Dhale governorate.”
Berg noted that MSF’s activities have been suspended several times in Ad Dhale in recent years. In October 2018, MSF’s staff house in Ad Dhale was attacked twice in less than a week. “In spite of constant negotiations with all stakeholders, security incidents and threats in the town of Ad Dhale continue. With such threats to safety, MSF sees no possibility of providing quality, impartial health care,” Berg added.
The closure of activities will include ending support for four MSF-supported health facilities: Al Nasr hospital in Ad Dhale town, Al Salaam primary health care center (PHCC) in Qatabah, Thee Jalal PHCC in Al Azariq, and Damt PHCC.
MSF was one of the few medical organizations delivering humanitarian assistance to the community in Ad Dhale. MSF acknowledges the impact this closure will have on access to health care in the governorate, depriving thousands of Yemenis of much needed humanitarian and medical assistance.
“We deeply regret that it has come to this point. This has been a very difficult decision for MSF to take, but one that at this point is unavoidable for the safety and security of our staff,” Berg said.
MSF has been working in Ad Dhale since 2012 supporting the provision of free medical care to the people of Ad Dhale, Qatabah, Al Azariq, and Damt districts. In the face of conflict, epidemics, and widespread medical needs, MSF’s support has enabled these health facilities to treat more than 400,000 patients across the governorate.
MSF remains committed to supporting the Yemeni people and provides support to more than 12 hospitals and health centers across 11 governorates.