Destruction of hospitals in Yemen amid war

Destroyed factory building in Yemen. Destroyed factory building in Yemen. Photo by Dzika Mrówka on iStock

25 March 2021

The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen has destroyed over 500 medical facilities. 

 Dr. Najeeb Khalil al-Qabati, the spokesman for the Health Ministry in Yemen’s National Salvation Government, recently announced that “the Saudi-led alliance and their allied militants are responsible for the destruction of 523 hospitals in Yemen.” Yemen has been engaged in a civil war since 2014, resulting in a severe humanitarian crisis with an estimated four million displaced individuals and 24 million in need of assistance, according to the Council on Foreign Relations’ Global Conflict Tracker. 

Regional powers have gotten involved in the armed conflict, such as Iran, US, Saudi Arabia, and other Gulf states. In 2015, Saudi Arabia, in coalition with its allies, launched an aerial campaign against the Houthi forces in Yemen. According to the Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Saudi-led coalition has conducted numerous unlawful airstrikes that deliberately attacked civilians and civilian objects, such as hospitals, school buses, markets, mosques, farms, bridges, factories, and detention centers. In addition to the destruction of hospitals, Dr. Qabati stated that “over 100 ambulances have been badly damaged because of the Saudi-led aggression, and over half of all health facilities in war-torn Yemen are now closed, while medicine is urgently needed.” 

According to Dr. Qabati, nearly 2.8 million children suffer from severe acute malnutrition, over 3,000 children have congenital heart defects, and more than 27,000 patients are registered with inflammatory diseases. Millions of patients are in need of healthcare abroad, but are unable to attain it due to the closure of Sana’a International Airport, which is a consequence of the war. Stating that “93% of the equipment and instruments in Yemeni hospitals and health centers have exceeded their life span,” Dr. Qabati has called upon the international community to get involved in order to put an end to the Saudi-led aggression. Yemen is currently receiving insufficient humanitarian aid, and in order to treat patients in need of medical care, the Sana’a airport must reopen, the sea and air blockade on Yemen must be removed, and other governments must increase assistance to the country. These objectives cannot be achieved without the help of the international community. 


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Author: Sitara Sandhu; Editor: Gabriella Pavlakis

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