MSF to Withdraw Staff From N. Yemen Hospitals

MSF to Withdraw Staff From N. Yemen HospitalsMSF to Withdraw Staff From N. Yemen Hospitals

The charity Medecins Sans Frontieres says it will withdraw staff from six hospitals in north Yemen after a Saudi-coalition airstrike hit one of its buildings, killing 19 people.

Monday’s attack was the fourth and deadliest on MSF’s facilities in Yemen. The French charity said in a statement it was “unsafe for both patients and staff” in the Saada and Hajjah governorates to continue. They said hospitals will remain staffed by local volunteers.

MSF said airstrikes have continued even though they have shared the satellite coordinates of their hospitals with the parties involved in the conflict, BBC reported.

“Coalition officials repeatedly state that they honor international humanitarian law, yet this attack shows a failure to control the use of force and to avoid attacks on hospitals full of patients,” it said.

“MSF is neither satisfied nor reassured by the SLC’s [Saudi-led coalition] statement that this attack was a mistake.

“The decision to evacuate the staff from a project is never taken lightly but in the absence of credible assurances that parties will respect the protected status of medical facilities, there may be no other option.”

The area hit is a stronghold of the Houthis who took over parts of the country in September 2014, including the capital Sana’a, and forced the government into exile.

A Saudi-led coalition force has been carrying out indiscriminate airstrikes in Yemen since March 2015 in attempts to oust Houthis and defend the fugitive president Abd-Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.