Yemen’s Major Children’s Hospital Facing Closure

Yemen’s Major Children’s Hospital Facing ClosureYemen’s Major Children’s Hospital Facing Closure

A major hospital in Yemen’s capital Sana’a is on the verge of shutting down as a result of a supply shortage caused by a Saudi-led coalition blockade, rights group Save the Children warned.

“Critical fuel shortages and a lack of medical supplies could force the Al-Sabeen Hospital to shut its doors within 48 hours,” the humanitarian organization said late on Sunday, Middle East Eye reported.

The hospital, supported by Save the Children, is the main facility for children and pregnant women in the area, and serves an estimated three million people, the organization said in a statement.

The Saudi-led coalition, that mounted an air campaign in Yemen in late March to restore the country’s exiled president Abd-Rabbuh Mansour Hadi and push back Houthi forces, has imposed a blockade on areas in control of Houthis and fighters loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The hospital is reliant on the Red Sea port of Hudaydah for 90% of its imports, Save the Children said.

“The hospital has entirely run out of IV fluid, anesthetic, blood transfusion tests, valium to treat seizures and ready-prepared therapeutic food for severely malnourished children,” the statement said citing the hospital’s deputy manager, Halel al-Bahri.

“We are coordinating closely with the other functioning hospitals in the city, sharing our stocks so that everyone has a bit of everything. But everyone is running low now and there isn’t enough to go around.

“The situation is absolutely critical. We don’t have time to wait for stocks and fuel to come in. If this hospital closes, children and women will die. The numbers of those who die will be much higher than those being killed by the bombs and the fighting.”

 Two More Days

Fuel that the hospital acquired from the black market was enough to run power generators for two more days, Bahri said.

Across Yemen, 15.2 million people lack access to basic healthcare, an increase of 40% since March.

More than half a million children are expected to suffer severe acute malnutrition this year and there has been a 150% increase in hospital admissions for malnutrition since March, the organization said.

“It is crucial that enough medicines, supplies and fuel are able to get into the country, otherwise the number of children dying from treatable illnesses is only going to get bigger,” said Edward Santiago, Save the Children’s Yemen director.

“Civilians are paying the price for the war in Yemen, which over the course of five months has plunged the country into a devastating humanitarian crisis.”

 Gear Up for Central Yemen

Yemen’s warring factions Sunday braced for a key battle in a central province. Security officials from both sides said the focus was now on Marib, an oil-rich province that provides the capital with electricity and fuel, after months of combat and Saudi-led bombardments that have killed some 2,000 civilians, according to the UN.

An airstrike by warplanes from the Arab alliance killed 36 civilians working at a bottling plant in the northern Yemeni Province of Hajjah on Sunday, residents said.

In another air raid on Sana’a, residents said four civilians were killed when a bomb hit their house near a military base in the south of the city.

“The process of recovering the bodies is finished now. The corpses of 36 workers, many of them burnt or in pieces, were pulled out after an airstrike hit the plant this morning,” a resident told Reuters by phone.

Pro-Hadi forces have recently tightened their grip on the province’s capital, also called Marib, while the Houthis have consolidated their positions on its outskirts, according to security officials and witnesses.