Life has stopped in the southern city of Aden in Yemen, where MSF runs an Emergency Surgical Unit.  Since fighting and bombings escalated in the country at the end of March, moving around the city has become dangerous.

Since 19 March, MSF has received over 600 injured patients at the hospital. But ongoing fighting, attacks on ambulances and roadblocks makes it difficult for patients to come to the hospital.

It remains extremely difficult for MSF to move within the country to 6evaluate needs or provide assistance and medical supplies, due to fighting and airstrikes.

Some roads are completely blocked. This makes the area inaccessible for vital medicine deliveries and restricts MSF’s movements.

MSF staff working in the country are faced with constant challenges within the conflict.

"This huge number of patients was a shock for us, but we were able to control the situation and to act with responsibility and manage things." Photo: MSF
"This huge number of patients was a shock for us, but we were able to control the situation and to act with responsibility and manage things." Photo: MSF

Anees Dayan is nurse working for MSF in the Aden Emergency Surgical Unit

We have to be prepared for mass casualties, as we are an Emergency Surgical Unit. We have received many mass casualties since MSF started working here in 2012, but the situation has never been worse.

Within two weeks we have received many mass-casualties (seven mass-casualties – over 600 injured).

This huge number of patients was a shock for us, but we were able to control the situation and to act with responsibility and manage things.

I was very sad as we were receiving people from the neighbourhood of our hospital and others from my neighbourhood, as well as people I know personally.

MSF emergency surgical unit received more than 600 patients from March 19 until April 5, but it is more and more difficult for wounded to reach the hospital as roads are often blocked and ambulances stopped, attacked and highjacked. Photo: MSF
MSF emergency surgical unit received more than 600 patients from March 19 until April 5, but it is more and more difficult for wounded to reach the hospital as roads are often blocked and ambulances stopped, attacked and highjacked. Photo: MSF

We were receiving all those casualties and at the same time thinking of our families. Things had changed so suddenly and it was very difficult for us.

My home is relatively close to the hospital so I walk there. I am originally from Abyan and so my family do not have anyone besides me to take care of them.

Many of my relatives in Abyan call me and blame me for leaving my family alone while I go out to work, but I cannot be absent from the hospital.

I am a nurse and this is what I must do. Of course, it’s difficult for me to leave my family for twelve hours, but it’s also difficult for me to not do my job as a nurse in the hospital at times like these.


Liqa works for MSF as a Pharmacist in Aden

I have not left the hospital since March 19th when the clashes started. The road is too dangerous for me to use, plus there is no other pharmacist at the hospital, and so I was badly needed there.

My assistant at the pharmacy travelled before the clashes and could not return to Aden. The situation in the hospital is tiring. But as health workers, we have to stay strong.

We have been able to contain the situation so far but our concern for our families makes it very stressful for us.

Emergency surgical Unit in Aden. Photo: MSF
Emergency surgical Unit in Aden. Photo: MSF

Running out of medicines

Life has stopped in the city, and movement has become extremely dangerous, while some roads have been completely blocked.

Our pharmacy stock is starting to run out and we are in desperate need of drugs and medical supplies, as well as the staff that are due to arrive and support us.

I have not seen my family since then. I can only talk to them on the phone. My family has not had access to water for two full days now and they only get electricity for a few hours. I am very worried about them.

Find out more about MSF's work in Yemen.