Thousands of Yemeni patients at risk of death due to ongoing siege: Health Minister
The Yemeni health minister has warned that thousands of patients in the country are at serious risk of losing their lives as a result of the ongoing Saudi-led blockade and a decision by international humanitarian organizations to leave the war-torn country.
Speaking at a press conference in the capital Sana’a on Thursday, Taha al-Mutawakel said the tight blockade imposed on Yemen prevents the repair of medical equipment, adding that some 93 percent of medical devices in Yemen have worked way beyond their average life span, while all magnetic resonance diagnostic devices have stopped working.
He added that the Saudi-led coalition does not allow the entry of medicines, especially refrigerated ones, which has enormously aggravated the health conditions of Yemeni patients grappling with cancer and malignant tumors in particular.
Mutawakel noted that many international humanitarian organizations have officially announced their decision to withdraw from Yemen in light of the closure of Sana'a International Airport and suspension of fuel deliveries.
The health minister went on to say that the departure of such organizations will result in the collapse of Yemen’s health system, saying the closure of some 162 centers by international institutions amid the coronavirus pandemic equaled “the deliberate killing of Yemeni people.”
He then held the international community and the Saudi-led coalition of aggression fully responsible for any dire consequences of the withdrawal of international humanitarian organizations.
Mutawakel also appealed for an immediate end to the Saudi-led blockade, establishment of a sustainable medical air bridge and unrestricted entry of oil derivatives into Yemen.
He said Yemeni public and private hospitals are about to stop their operations due to the lack of oil derivatives, emphasizing that medical oxygen generators are now working at only 50 percent of their nominal capacities.
Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia has been waging a bloody military aggression against Yemen with help from its regional allies, and using arms supplied by its Western backers. The aim of the war has been to bring former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and defeat the Ansarullah movement.
Over 100,000 people have lost their lives as a result of military aggression in the past five years, according to some figures.
The war has also destroyed, damaged and shut down Yemen's infrastructure, including a large number of hospitals and clinics.
The Yemeni population has been subjected to large-scale hunger and diseases aggravated by the naval blockade imposed on the country by the coalition of aggressors.