82 dead in an air attack: MSF denounces a “worrying escalation of the war in Yemen”

On Friday morning, a Saudi-led coalition airstrike hit the prison in the Yemeni town of Sa'ada, a stronghold of the Houthi rebel movement. The Ministry of Health deplores 82 dead and 266 injured, but the toll could increase given the number of people still trapped under the rubble.

In a statement, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) reports the words of a member of its staff, who explains that he heard fighter planes and three separate explosions.

“It is undeniable that it is an airstrike, everyone in the city of Sa'ada heard it. I live a kilometer from the prison and my house was shaking from the explosions. »

An MSF staff member, who is at al-Gumhouriyyeh hospital, describes overwhelmed hospital services.

“The hospital is facing a very difficult situation today, injured people are lying on the floor. There are not enough beds for all the injured. »

Ahmed Mahat is MSF's head of mission in Yemen. He says, "In recent days, we have witnessed a worrying escalation of the war in Yemen".

“This is the latest in a long series of unjustifiable Saudi-led coalition airstrikes on places including schools, hospitals, markets, wedding parties and prisons. Since the start of the war, we have often witnessed the terrible effects of indiscriminate coalition bombing, including when our own hospitals were attacked. »

He deplores it, but according to him, “after seven years of war, the end of the suffering endured by the civilian populations in Yemen still seems far away”.

António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, calls on "all parties to exercise maximum restraint and to prevent a further escalation and intensification of the conflict" and "reiterates its calls on the parties to engage in a constructively and without preconditions in Special Envoy Grundberg's mediation efforts to advance the political process in order to reach a negotiated comprehensive settlement to end the conflict in Yemen".

Ravina Shamdasani, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), reports 839 airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition. OHCHR fears there will be more attacks in January than last December, which saw 1074 airstrikes.

In Yemen, Yemeni government forces, supported since 2015 by an international coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, oppose the Houthi rebellion. MSF denounces the collapse of the Yemeni health system, and the worsening of the country's situation due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the economic crisis, but also the "underfunding allocated by the United Nations Organization in its humanitarian response.


Image credit: Shutterstock / anasalhajj

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