A medical facility in Yemen supported by Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) was bombed Sunday morning, leaving four dead and 10 injured, the organization said.
The facility was hit by a rocket on Sunday in the north of the country causing the collapse of several buildings. Three of the injured are MSF staff, two are in critical condition.
— MSF International (@MSF) January 10, 2016
In a statement on Twitter, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) say they, “strongly condemn this and we reiterate to all parties to the conflict that patients & medical facilities must be respected.”
According to our staff on the ground, at 09:20 one projectile impacted the Shiara Hospital in Razeh district, where MSF has been working since November 2015. MSF cannot confirm the origin of the attack, but planes were seen flying over the facility at the time. At least one more projectile fell near the hospital. The numbers of casualties could rise as there could still be people trapped in the rubble. All staff and patients have evacuated and patients are being transferred to Al Goumoury hospital in Saada, also supported by MSF.
“All warring parties, including the Saudi led coalition (SLC), are regularly informed of the GPS coordinates of the medical sites where MSF works and we are in constant dialogue with them to ensure that they understand the severity of the humanitarian consequences of the conflict and the need to respect the provision of medical services”, says Raquel Ayora Director of Operations. “There is no way that anyone with the capacity to carry out an airstrike or launch a rocket would not have known that the Shiara Hospital was a functioning health facility providing critical services and supported by MSF”.
“We reiterate to all parties to the conflict that patients and medical facilities must be respected and that bombing hospitals is a violation of international humanitarian law”, says Ayora.
The conflict is particularly acute in Razeh District. The population of the area have been severely affected by constant bombings and the cumulative weight of 10 months of war. Shiara Hospital had already been bombed before MSF started supporting it and services were reduced to stabilisation, emergency, maternity and lifesaving activities.
This is the third severe incident in an MSF health facility in Yemen in the last three months. On 27 October Haydan hospital was destroyed by an airstrike by the SLC and on 3rd December a health centre in Taiz was also hit by the SLC wounding 9 people. MSF teams struggle on a daily basis to ensure the respect of health facilities by all armed groups.
“We strongly condemn this incident that confirms a worrying pattern of attacks to essential medical services and express our strongest outrage as this will leave a very fragile population without healthcare for weeks”, says Ayora. “Once more it is civilians that bear the brunt of this war”.