Red Cross Demands End To Airstrikes On Yemeni Hospitals

Red Cross Demands End To Airstrikes On Yemeni Hospitals
Doctors Without Borders said that one of its health centers in northern Yemen was bombed on October 27, 2015 by the military coalition led by Saudi Arabia. The international Committee of the Red Cross demanded that attacks on medical facilities in Yemen on November 10, 2015. Photo courtesy of Médecins Sans Frontières

SANAA, Yemen, Nov. 11 (UPI) — Hospitals in Yemen, caught up in fighting between the government, rebels and militants, have been targeted in airstrikes, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

The ICRC issued a report Tuesday saying healthcare facilities in the country have been struck in more than 100 instances since March. A coalition led by Saudi Arabia began airstrikes in Yemen in March with the goal of restoring Yemeni President Abdu Rabbo Mansour Hadi to power, though the Saudi military was not specifically mentioned in the complaint.

“Al-Thawra hospital, one of the main healthcare facilities in Taiz, which is providing treatment for about 50 injured people every day, was reportedly shelled several times on Sunday,” said Kedir Awol Omar, the deputy head of the ICRC delegation in Yemen. “The shelling endangered the lives of patients and staff on site.

“The neutrality of healthcare facilities and staff is not being respected. Health facilities are deliberately attacked and surgical and medical supplies are also being blocked from reaching hospitals in areas under siege.”

In October, a Doctors Without Borders facility was bombed, injuring at least two people. The United Nations condemned the attack on the hospital run by the group known officially as Médecins Sans Frontières or MSF.

“It could be a mistake, but the fact of the matter is it’s a war crime. There’s no reason to target a hospital,” Hassan Boucenine, head of the MSF mission in Yemen, said of the October strike.

Damage done to hospitals amid fighting in the region has come under scrutiny in recent months. MSF called for a full investigation after a U.S. airstrike on a hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, killed at least 30 people.

Meanwhile, a report from the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction in October found there was inaccurate global positioning data for nearly two dozen medical facilities supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development in Afghanistan. The bad GPS data leaves the hospitals vulnerable to attacks, SIGAR determined.


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