Yemen: Civilians, hospitals targeted in by Saudi-led air strikes

August 2, 2015

Vendors salvage goods from ruins of their shops following Saudi airs strike.

Civilians and hospitals are being targeted deliberately in Yemen by the Saudi-led Arab coalition airstrikes against the rebels in the country, officials from the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) medical charity said on July 30.

“We need the medical mission to be respected: hospitals to be respected; ambulances to be respected, healthcare workers to be respected. You cannot target clinics, ambulances or hospitals — that is vital right now,” Dr Joanne Liu, MSF’s international president, told the Guardian.

Liu added that while international efforts for a political resolution are taking place, the sides of the conflict, the coalition forces and the Ansarullah rebels, should allow humanitarian missions to be carried out by medical groups and aid organisations.

“As well as hoping for a truce and a political solution to what’s going on, we need to protect the civilians who are now being targeted, and medical activities,” she added.

In a recent article for Liberation, another MSF board member, Dr Mego Terzian, said the international community has failed the people of Yemen.

Terzian said the countries who support the Saudi-led operation in Yemen, including the US and the Britain, are accepting the death and suffering inflicted on the civilians as collateral damage.

“Collateral damage that may be of little concern to governments — as we have come to understand in recent months during our attempts to rally diplomats in Paris, Geneva and Washington on the need to put pressure on the warring parties to spare civilian lives,” he said.

The doctor added that the attacks by the Saudi coalition, which was launched in March 26 and includes more than 10 Arab countries, would expose the civilians to more violence and suffering even after the operation ends.

“In view of what we are witnessing in Aden, we fear that the coalition-led offensives seeking to regain territory from the Houthis [Ansarullah rebels] will, in the short-term, inflict yet more violence on civilians caught between the warring parties and expose them to armed reprisals,” Terzian said.

Meanwhile, the United Nation World Food Program (WFP) said in a July 30 statement that it had begun the distribution of food to more than 340,000 people who did not have access to aid or food as a result of the ongoing war.

Oxfam said this week that 6 million people in Yemen were on the brink of starvation, out of a population of 24 million.

“We are challenging the odds to reach tens of thousands of people who would go hungry without food assistance,” said Muhannad Hadi, WFP regional director for the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

More than 1,000 civilians have been killed in Yemen since the beginning of the Saudi-led air war, which the US provides logistical and intelligence support for and which is mainly carried out with US-manufactured bombs and fighter jets.

[Reprinted from TeleSUR English.]

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