Yemen: First person account from Saada under bombardment

An MSF team spent last night in the city of Saada (صعدة/Sa'dah), Yemen under intense bombing from the coalition led by Saudi Arabia. On Friday night the coalition gave an ultimatum to the population to leave the city and its surrounding area, as the whole province in the North of the country would become a military target.

Teresa Sancristóval, MSF emergency coordinator, is part of the team who worked throughout the night at the Al Gumhury hospital in Saada, said: 

“The bombing has been quite intense, more than twenty bombs have hit different buildings in the city, which has already suffered a huge level of destruction in recent weeks. There have been reports of 140 bombs being dropped on the city in a single day.

“Even though the city is noticeably emptier, many people were not aware of the order of evacuation - it hasn't been heard by the entire population. There is no electricity, no working telephones and yesterday there was a huge storm ... we fear that everyone wasn't aware of the ultimatum. Even at the hospital last night we had seven women giving birth, five of them had to flee from the hospital because of the intensity of the air strikes.

“Some people were leaving the city in trucks, but many were leaving on foot, as there is no fuel due to the blockade.

“Although many people had already left the town, the population that remains in the city are very scared and worried. The market, storage facilities and government buildings have been destroyed and many civilians are suffering the consequences. At the hospital, where those severely injured are brought in, the majority of the staff works and lives in the hospital.”

The MSF team has been working at the hospital throughout the night as “due to the bombing there was a need to restructure the services to ensure their safety, the hospital is running out of safe places, so for example the maternity ward is now also paediatric and IPD for women.”