SHAFAQNA – “Our medical staff are starting to see children dying of preventable causes because they arrive too late to our facillities,” says Marie-Elisabeth Ingres, the head of the Yemen mission for Doctors Without Borders — also known by its French initials, MSF. She says those patients are at risk because Yemen is running out of drugs to treat chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer.
Ingres says access is the number one problem. A Saudi-led coalition has been bombing military targets, including the Sanaa airport, and blockading Yemen’s ports since March 26, when the kingdom pledged to restore Yemen’s government after it was unseated by a Shiite rebel group called the Houthis.
“If the airstrip of the Sanaa airport is bombed and is not repaired, we will not be able to [bring] drugs and medical staff into Yemen,” Ingres says. The United Nations has called upon Saudi Arabia to stop blowing up airport runways in Yemen, to allow delivery of humanitarian aid.
The Saudi attacks and blockade have also left Yemen with too few doctors and aid workers to handle the growing humanitarian crisis. “There are only two international organizations in Yemen, MSF and the ICRC, the International Committee for the Red Cross. We cannot go it alone,” Ingres says. “It is not possible. We request that the humanitarian actors come back to Yemen to give humanitarian assistance.”