Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
License needed for work use Register

World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Yemen fighting nears vital hospital in port city of Hudaydah

Top UN officials sound alarm as Yemen fighting nears vital hospital in port city of Hudaydah

As fighting in Yemen edges closer to the main healthcare practice in the port city of Hudaydah, the head of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) joined the world body’s humanitarian chief on Thursday to urge the warring parties not to target or occupy any civilian sites – including Al Thawrah Hospital.

While urging the parties to maintain the recent de-escalation in fighting in war-battered Hudaydah that has provided a desperately needed respite to hundreds of thousands of civilians who remain in the Red Sea port city, the two senior UN officials said they were deeply concerned for the safety and protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure.

Conflict in Yemen – already one of the poorest countries in the world before the crisis – escalated in March 2015, when an Saudi-led international coalition intervened militarily at the request of the Yemeni presidency, against a widespread Houthi rebel insurgency.

“Hostilities over the last several weeks in Hudaydah have taken a steep toll, including on health facilities directly damaged in crossfire or occupied by armed groups,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director, and Mark Lowcock, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, in a joint statement.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

They were especially worried about Al Thawrah Hospital, which is the only facility in the city equipped to provide a full range of secondary and tertiary care, and therefore critical for millions of people in Hudaydah Governorate. More than 81,000 children were treated at the hospital in 2017, while over 45,000 have received treatment there so far this year.

The hospital’s services include a malnutrition treatment facility, two intensive care units that are providing intensive emergency care including for newborn babies, and a cholera treatment centre that has treated 1,615 patients since August 2018.

“Since the lull in hostilities, Al Thawrah hospital has remained functional and accessible. However, front lines remain very close by, meaning any resumption of hostilities could quickly render the facility unusable,” said the officials.

They noted that Al Thawrah had been damaged several times during fighting before the lull. And while other hospitals continue to operate in Hudaydah, none offer the level of care and services provided by Al Thawrah. Its continued operation is vital for the city and its surroundings.

“We remind all parties to the conflict of their obligation to abide by the fundamental rules of distinction and proportionality and to take constant care – at all times – to spare civilians and civilian infrastructure, including Al Thawrah Hospital and all other health facilities,” they said.

Ms. Fore and Mr. Lowcock called on the parties not to occupy or otherwise use civilian sites – including Al Thawrah – for military purposes, and stressed that the conflict parties should also guarantee that patients, their family members and medical staff have safe passage to and from the hospital at all times.

They stressed: “A durable cessation of hostilities – part of a package of five measures – would be a welcome first step. Full implementation of all five measures – a cessation of hostilities, protection of the supply of food and essential goods, support for the economy, increased funding for the response, and engagement by the parties with the Special Envoy [for Yemen] to end the conflict – is essential to prevent potential catastrophe.”


© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
World Headlines

UN News: Aid Access Is Key Priority

Among the key issues facing diplomats is securing the release of a reported 199 Israeli hostages, seized during the Hamas raid. “History is watching,” says Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths. “This war was started by taking those hostages. Of course, there's a history between Palestinian people and the Israeli people, and I'm not denying any of that. But that act alone lit a fire, which can only be put out with the release of those hostages.” More

Save The Children: Four Earthquakes In a Week Leave Thousands Homeless

Families in western Afghanistan are reeling after a fourth earthquake hit Herat Province, crumbling buildings and forcing people to flee once again, with thousands now living in tents exposed to fierce winds and dust storms. The latest 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit 30 km outside of Herat on Sunday, shattering communities still reeling from strong and shallow aftershocks. More

UN News: Nowhere To Go In Gaza

UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said some 1.1M people would be expected to leave northern Gaza and that such a movement would be “impossible” without devastating humanitarian consequences and appeals for the order to be rescinded. The WHO joined the call for Israel to rescind the relocation order, which amounted to a “death sentence” for many. More

Access Now: Telecom Blackout In Gaza An Attack On Human Rights

By October 10, reports indicated that fixed-line internet, mobile data, SMS, telephone, and TV networks are all seriously compromised. With significant and increasing damage to the electrical grid, orders by the Israeli Ministry of Energy to stop supplying electricity and the last remaining power station now out of fuel, many are no longer able to charge devices that are essential to communicate and access information. More


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.