The Destructive Impact of the Yemen Conflict on the Healthcare System

Airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition left a crater outside a hospital in Hajja Province, Yemen Airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition left a crater outside a hospital in Hajja Province, Yemen Abduljabbar Zeyad/ Reuters

18 March 2020

Healthcare Workers targeted at least 120 times in Yemen Conflict according to new report

An analysis copublished by Physicians for Human Rights and Yemeni human rights group, Mwatana, found that warring parties attacked hospitals and doctors in Yemen at least 120 times between March 2015 and December 2018. Across 20 of Yemen’s 22 governorates, attacks including ground attacks, military occupation, and assaults among others have occurred throughout the ongoing conflict.  

The recognized government in Yemen, the Saudi-Emirati led coalition, and the Ansar Allah armed forces have all participated in these attacks. The report compiled nearly 200 cross-checked interviews, media coverage, reports by international organizations, and photographs in their findings. 

Mwatana’s advocacy director who co-authored the report said that What our report shows is how blatantly international humanitarian law has been ignored in Yemen’s conflict and how in particular attacking healthcare facilities has a long-term and wide-reaching impact,” 

However, attacks on hospitals continue. The report was published on the heels of a different preliminary announcement by the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen. The latter stated that on March 13, 2020 missiles hit two buildings at the Al Thawra General Hospital in Taizz City. Currently, less than 50 percent of health facilities across the country are operating at capacity. In a similar vein, even those that run at their maximum ability lack specialists, important medicine, and necessary equipment. Two-thirds of Yemen’s 28 million people depend on aid to survive. Now bracing for the coronavirus, which has yet to be reported in the country, the continuing humanitarian crisis and five-year conflict takes on a new burden. 


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Author: Rachel Warner; Editor: Teagan Foti

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