The US funded Saudi Arabian coalition that has been bombing Yemen in the name of fighting terrorism has bombed several more hospitals and clinics since they destroyed a hospital run by Médecins Sans Frontières in early December. On Sunday, Shiara hospital in Razeh District, where MSF has been working since November 2015, was destroyed resulting in five deaths and multiple injuries.
“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 in the area has 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 life-saving activities.
This is the third severe incident affecting 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 3 December a health centre in Taiz was also hit by the SLC and nine people were wounded. MSF teams struggle on a daily basis to ensure the respect of health facilities by all armed groups.
On Monday, another hospital was struck in central Yemen. According to an official from the exiled Yemen government, the bombing was because the facility was being used as cover for rebels who overthrew the Yemen government last year. We’ve heard that excuse from the Afghanistan and US governments after the US bombed the MSF trauma hospital in Kunduz.
These are war crimes and the United States has the power to stop this by simply refusing to sell more arms to the Saudi Arabians.