Crisis in Yemen

After 22 months of conflict, Yemen is in the midst of a full-blown humanitarian emergency. Following a short ebb in fighting during peace negotiations, airstrikes and ground fighting has fully resumed, with huge consequences forcivilians. All armed actors involved in the conflict, including the Saudi-led military coalition and the Houthis, are carrying out indiscriminate attacks without any respect for civilians or civilian infrastructures such as hospitals, schools or markets. Airstrikes are having a disproportionately high level of civilian casualties, such as the airstrike in Haydan last August that killed 10 and seriously injured 28 children. 

MSF health facilities alone have been hit four times. The last bombing, an airstrike on Abs hospital on August 15, resulted in 19 deaths and 24 wounded, including an MSF staff member. The UN reports that over 600 health facilities in the country have stopped functioning due to damages or lack of staff/supplies affecting the access to healthcare of millions of people. The city of Taiz is one of the worst affected areas of Yemen, with intense fighting and daily shelling in the densely populated inner city. Taiz has not seen any ceasefire since July 2015. 


Yemen in figures

●     Population: 27.4 million (OCHA, January 2017)

●     GDP / capita: US$1,400; 182th in the world (out of 228) (World Bank, 2015)

●     Infant mortality: 89 per live 1,000 births; Under 5 mortality: 42 deaths per 1,000 live births (UN IG CME, 2015)

●     14.8 millionpeople  have no access to healthcare (OCHA, January 2017)

●     Around 3.3 million children, pregnant women and new mothers are acutely malnourished, including 462,000 children under the age of five who are severely malnourished (OCHA). More than three million people have fled their homes in search of safety and security, out of which more than two million remain internally displaced and over one million have provisionally returned to their places of origin (Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan, January 2017


Taiz: Healthcare Under Siege


After almost two years of continuous fighting, the medical-humanitarian situation in Taiz, Yemen’s third most populous city, is extremely dire and only seems likely to further deteriorate. Shelling, airstrikes, crossfire, landmines and snipers are consistently injuring, maiming and killing local residents, while access to lifesaving healthcare has become increasingly limited.







Current activities

MSF has been working in 12 hospitals and health centres in Yemen and providing support to more than 30 hospitals or health centres in 11 Yemeni governorates: Taiz, Aden, Al-Dhale’, Saada, Amran, Hajjah, Ibb, Sana’a, Hodaida, Abyan and Lahj, with nearly 1,600 staff including 82 international staff — making it among MSF´s largest missions in the world in terms of personnel.



A growing number suspected cholera cases have been reported by the Yemeni Ministry of Health. MSF supports the Al-Sabeen hospital in Sana’a, and the Al-Sadaqa hospital and Al-Jumhori hospital in Aden, as well as other health facilities in Taiz governorate to help with the response. MSF is providing these health facilities with medical supplies and training of staff, in addition to logistical support with the aim of prevention, isolation of patients with suspected symptoms, case management and capacity building. Beside this direct support of medical facilities, MSF teams are continuously monitoring the situation to be prepared for any increase in cases, in addition to providing precautionary measures in MSF facilities in Aden, Al-Dhale, Amran, Ibb and Taiz. 

MSF urges the international community to support Yemen’s fragile health system to cope with any needs.



In our projects, MSF staff have witnessed and treated several cases of malnutrition. Malnutrition is a complicated disease that arises from many factors. In Yemen, the issue of malnutrition is most notably exacerbated by  the deteriorating economic conditions – which creates barriers for vulnerable communities to access medical treatment, restricts the ability to travel and the income to buy the necessary daily intake of food, among other factors – in addition to the general hardships resulting from the conflict. MSF strongly urges the international community to support the Yemeni population with their needs and to reinforce a collapsing infrastructure. From January to September 2016, MSF has treated 4,485 children suffering of malnutrition in Amran, Taiz and Hajja.


#NotATarget: MSF health facilities hit by airstrikes/missiles in Yemen

Four MSF-supported facilities and one ambulance were hit by airstrikes or missiles in Yemen within 10 months.

1. Abs Hosptial; August 15, 2016 

2. Shiara hospital; January 10, 2016

3. Tent clinic in Al-Houban, Taiz; December 2, 2015

4. Haydan hospital; October 26, 2015 


Living Beneath the Bombs in Yemen



Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) teams have treated tens of thousands of war-wounded since hostilities increased in 2015, despite the difficulties caused by ongoing violence, fighting and a fuel blockade that continues to cripple the country. 

MSF currently has 790 staff in Yemen. MSF first worked in Yemen in 1986, and has been working continuously in the country since 2007. MSF currently runs medical projects in Sana’a, Amran, Aden and Ad-Dhale governorates in Yemen, and provides medical aid to different parts of the country during emergencies.



Video: A Canadian nurse on coming under fire in Yemen

In the video above, Canadian Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) nurse Céline Langlois describes getting caught in the crossfire of the ongoing violent conflict in Yemen.


From the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) International Activity Report:


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