12 May 2015

F runs Al-Salam Hospital in the town of Khamer, in the Amran governorate of Yemen, north of the capital Sana’a.

The facility is one of only two hospitals in the entire governorate, and normally receives patients from remote areas and valleys in the north of Amran. However, with the current shortages of fuel people are less able to move, and many patients arrive at the hospital late, or do not come at all. The fuel shortage is also having an impact on the availability of clean drinking water.

Khamer has also recently seen an influx of IDPs, particularly those escaping the airstrikes in Sa’ada, with some houses hosting numerous IDP families, while other IDPs find refuge in schools. Over 1,000 IDP families have already arrived in Khamer.

MSF is extending its support in Khamer by providing mobile clinics for IDPs, as well as clean water and non-food items such as hygiene kits and cooking sets.

Abdulla Husain Sha’ra of Sa’ada

About a month ago I left Sa’ada with my family. The airstrikes hit places that were just some 20 or 30 meters from our house. When we left Sa’ada we were only carrying our clothes and some important items.

We came here with no furniture. Some good people donated mattresses and blankets for us. Khamer is a peaceful town but we live in difficult conditions.

We are five families living in the same house. Each family lives in one room. The water is very expensive as the water trucks do not move due to the fuel shortage.

I used to earn my living by working on a motorbike, but with no fuel I could not move my source of income from Sa’ada to Khamer.

I want to go back home to my place in Sa’ada but I cannot with the airstrikes still ongoing and as I am responsible for keeping my family in a safe place.

Sameer Yahya of Sa’ada

My brother was on a motorbike when an airstrike hit the market in Sa’ada. He was injured by shrapnel but he survived.

After heavy airstrikes that were just a few metres from my house, I decided to leave Sa’ada to save my family. Now I have been in Khamer for almost one month.

I used to register IDPs in Sa’ada in 2008 . Now I am an IDP myself here in Khamer.

The life of an IDP is not easy especially when the place you escape to does not have basic facilities like water and sanitation.

Mujali Al-Hujeri, Doctor Assistant, Al-Salam Hospital

Fear can make people accept to live in conditions they would not accept in their normal life.

There were many houses in the town that were unoccupied as they did not have basic facilities. Yet now all the houses in Khamer are occupied by IDPs.

Many of these houses do not have electricity or sanitation systems or water.

And some families, who could not find a house, share a house with others. Some houses are shared by four or five IDP families as there is no more space, and the newly arrived IDPs are staying at schools.

Ameera Yahya, Midwives Supervisor

We have been receiving mostly women from Khamer town or places nearby. The most complicated pregnancies we used to receive are from faraway districts where women do not enjoy good health due to poor nutrition.

We do not see many of them nowadays as they cannot afford the high prices of transportation. These women and their families are the poorest in the area.

Above all, they do not have other health facilities around. Many women are now delivering at home with unskilled attendants, which puts them in danger if they have complications or if they need a C-Section.

Some of those who can make it to the hospital come very late and lose their babies.

Salem Saleh, MSF Pharmacist

Khamer does not have a large supply of clean water.

There are only two wells and the water of those two wells is not for drinking. So people have to buy water from trucks which bring clean water to Khamer.

Now with the fuel shortage, the water trucks can only provide the town with water for very expensive prices. The price for a water truck used to be 4,000 YR (22$), and now it’s double that and sometimes triple.

Due to the fuel shortage, the prices of food have increased as well. We are living through a crisis and we do not know when it will end.

Najeeba Ali Humaid

Najeeba is a one year old child suffering from acute malnutrition.

Her mother said she could not afford the high price for transportation from Osman Valley where they live to Al-Salam Hospital in Khamer.

Najeeba’s father was not home, and the baby was extremely sick, so she went to the hospital in Khamer by foot, carrying her baby for six hours.

Dr. Emmanuel Berbain, MSF Medical Activities Manager says, “Unfortunately the child suffered from acute malnutrition; she came to the hospital very late with acute gastro-enteritis which turned into a multi-organ failure, by the time she arrived at hospital. But she’s getting better.”

Ali Alian, dressing room staff, Al-Salam Hospital

Only those who live in Khamer or in the nearby districts can make it to the hospital.

Others who come from faraway places have to pay lots of money as the transportation fares have increased due to the fuel shortage.

Some IDPs come to Khamer by foot and others just don’t come as they cannot afford the fares.

Find out more about MSF's work in Yemen