Since Thursday 9 August, Aden has been in a state of war as intense fighting opposing various armed groups continues across the city. In less than 24 hours, Médecins Sans Frontières treated 119 people in its hospital and the wounded continue to pour in. The airport is closed, and the city has ground to a halt.
In less than 24 hours, the MSF teams treated 119 patients, 62 of whom required emergency inpatient care. “Most of the wounded are civilians trapped by the fighting and probably victims of mortar fire or stray bullets. Yesterday we treated a woman who had a bullet wound and she was eight-months pregnant. At least five people were dead on arrival at the hospital, one of them a child,” says Caroline Séguin, MSF’s head of programmes in Yemen.
“The city is a battlefield. We can hear the sound of heavy weapon fire and tanks are moving around the streets,” she continues.
“Our hospital is stretched to the limit. Our teams are working around the clock to take care of the many people wounded by the fighting, and we can’t get anyone in to replace them. The city’s paralysed and some personnel aren’t able to get to the hospital because the fighting’s really fierce and the roads into the city are cut off. Given all of this, we’re worried we won’t be able to get supplies through to the hospital,” Séguin goes on.
The airport is closed and the port of Aden is also threatened due to the fighting. The only fully functional port in the country, this is where imported goods and some humanitarian aid are brought in, including MSF’s.
“If the situation continues to deteriorate and Aden goes on being paralysed, there’s also a risk of prices being impacted and consequently people’s access to basic essentials when there’s already inflation,” explains the programme manager.
On 1 August, the MSF teams already had to contend with a massive influx of wounded casualties after attacks in two of the city’s districts. Sixteen people were admitted to the hospital.
Opened in Aden in 2012, MSF’s hospital is in the centre of the city. "Despite the fighting, the hospital is still open and fully operational. The teams are continuing to take care of the dozens of people wounded in this new wave of violence that has erupted in Aden," says Caroline Séguin.