Doctors Without Borders Says Yemen Hospital Is Destroyed

doctorswithoutborders BEIRUT, Lebanon — A hospital in northern Yemen run by Doctors Without Borders was destroyed by warplanes belonging to a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia, even though the coalition had been given the coordinates of the hospital, the relief organization said Tuesday. The airstrikes, about 10:30 p.m. Monday, forced the evacuation of staff and patients from the site and raised new questions about what precautions Saudi Arabia and its military partners were taking to avoid civilians. The coalition, of 10 Arab states, receives military and intelligence support from the United States and has been battling Yemen’s Houthi rebels since March. Bombings by the coalition have killed more than 1,100 people — the majority of civilian casualties during the war, according to human rights advocates. The airstrikes have also hit nonmilitary targets, including markets, houses and wedding parties. MSF155201 “With the hospital destroyed, at least 200,000 people now have no access to lifesaving medical care,” Doctors Without Borders said in a statement. Hassan Boucenine, the group’s head of mission in Yemen, said in the statement that the attack was “another illustration of a complete disregard for civilians in Yemen, where bombings have become a daily routine.” A spokesman for the coalition did not return phone calls seeking comment. Mr. Boucenine said in an interview that the hospital was hit by several airstrikes while roughly a dozen patients and staff members were inside. The operating theater and maternity ward were struck. The staff evacuated the hospital between strikes, and one staff member was slightly injured in the escape. The airstrikes then continued for at least two hours, leaving most of the facility in rubble, the group said. Doctors Without Borders had supplied the hospital’s coordinates to the coalition about six months ago and reconfirmed them every month, Mr. Boucenine said. The group’s logo was on the roof. The small hospital, in the Haydan district along the border with Saudi Arabia, was one of the few still operating in the northern province of Saada. The province has been heavily bombed by the coalition for months. Doctors Without Borders said about 3,400 patients had been treated since the group began supporting the hospital in May. “The bombing of civilians and hospitals is a violation of international humanitarian law and M.S.F. is demanding that coalition forces explain the circumstances around the attack,” the statement said, using the abbreviation for the group’s French name, Médecins Sans Frontières. American officials said little Tuesday about the hospital airstrikes. “Senior U.S. officials remain in close and regular contact with the Saudi government on a wide range of issues related to Yemen,” said Col. Patrick Ryder, a spokesman for the United States Central Command. “We have asked the Saudi government to investigate all credible reports of civilian casualties resulting from coalition-led airstrikes and, if confirmed, to address the factors that led to them.” Spokesmen for the White House and the C.I.A. declined to comment. Source